According to the latest data, the Bitcoin network now processes more volume than the online payment giant PayPal.
Figures from blockchain insight firm Blockdata show that the Bitcoin network was estimated to be processing an average of $ 489 billion per quarter in 2021, compared to PayPal’s average of $ 302 billion per quarter.
Bitcoin’s number is still a long way from that of other leading payment processors, Mastercard ($ 1.8 trillion per quarter) and Visa ($ 3.2 trillion per quarter).
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PayPal’s announcement last year that customers could buy, sell, and spend Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through its online platform opened the digital assets to more than 300 million customers and around 20 million active merchants around the world, sparking the start a price rally that caused the value of BTC to rise more than 400 percent in the past 12 months.
Bitcoin’s transaction volume was boosted by this soaring price, which almost doubled against the US dollar in 2021.
“In theory, if the price of Bitcoin increased by ~ 260 percent to $ 245,000 today, the Bitcoin network would theoretically process an equivalent volume as the Mastercard network,” Sam Wouters, senior analyst at Blockdata, notes in one Blog post.
“However, price isn’t the only way Bitcoin can catch up, and volume isn’t the only way to define the size of a financial network.”
The Bitcoin network performs an average of around 280,000 transactions per day on its base layer (excluding Layer 2 technologies like the Lightning Network), compared to around 366 million per day for Mastercard and 597 million per day for Visa.
“Here the gap between the networks is staggering, but not without reason,” wrote Wouters.
“There are many more credit card users than cryptocurrency users, and closing this gap will take time and a lot of education on how this new financial system will work.
“A lot can change in the next few years, and a conservative estimate from 2026 that Bitcoin will grow to the size of a network like Mastercard or Visa may not be so over-optimistic after all.”
Bitcoin’s current market cap of $ 1.11 trillion is already more than the value of Mastercard, PayPal and Visa combined.