Bitcoin processes $187bn more in transactions per quarter than PayPal

Canary Wharf, London

Fin is a former junior editor at TechForge.

The Bitcoin (BTC) network is now processing more volume in terms of transactions than payments platform PayPal, according to blockchain analysis firm Blockdata.

Looking at average transaction volumes, Blockdata says that the Bitcoin network outshone PayPal by $187 billion (£140.4bn) per quarter this year. An impressive overtake for a payments system twelve years younger than PayPal.

Blockdata reported that: “The Bitcoin network processed an estimated average of $489 billion per quarter in 2021. To put that into perspective, PayPal processed an average of $302 billion per quarter in the same period.”

The world’s largest cryptocurrency sits shy of competing with payment giants Mastercard and Visa however.

“The Mastercard network processed $1.8 trillion per quarter, or 260% more [than Bitcoin], and the Visa network processed an average of $3.2 trillion per quarter, or 540% more [than Bitcoin].”

Despite Bitcoin’s relatively small shadow compared to the credit card conglomerate, Blockdata remained impressed by the network’s growth relative to Mastercard.

“It’s impressive how Bitcoin, as a 12-year-old decentralised network, is 27% of the way in terms of volume processed compared to Mastercard, a company founded in 1966, especially when you take into account that this is a decentralised movement.”

Bitcoin Price Scenarios

If the average yearly Bitcoin price is taken as a growth metric, Bitcoin could surpass Mastercard in transaction volume within four decades.

“Taking the average yearly Bitcoin price as a growth metric, it could take as long as 2060 for this to happen. However, if you account for the negative correlation with the average BTC per transaction decreasing, this timeframe could increase significantly.”

However, a more optimistic analyst would use Bitcoin’s 2021 price growth to argue the crypto could reach Mastercard’s transaction volume as soon as 2026.

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