Written by Aubrey Hanson
PayPal is sitting on the edge of a cliff. While they once brought innovation to the world of digital payments, the company is behind the curve when it comes to the next generation of digital payment technology. They are also looking at the departure of eBay as a partner, which will undoubtedly hurt them over the next few years.
When PayPal started up more than two decades ago, there weren’t any other options for making online payments. Now the world is teeming with ways to settle payments online, many of which offer clear advantages over PayPal’s dated business model.
Then there are the fees. PayPal has been pigging out on their clients’ money. They may have picked up some bad habits from their banking partners because they charge way too much to shuffle data around. All of this ends up looking pretty bleak for the company, but if they embrace the pioneering spirit that put them on the map to begin with, they may be able to turn themselves around before it is too late.
Currently, PayPal still has enough revenue to develop a blockchain-based platform that could keep them relevant in a changing world. The idea behind PayPal as an intermediary is falling apart today, and if they are going to survive, they need to find ways to handle cryptocurrencies, as well as fiat payments at much lower rates.
The reason for this is simple – people don’t want PayPal seizing their funds, locking up transfers for weeks or months, and treating customers with the same regard a third-world dictatorship reserves for its citizens.
One of the biggest reasons why cryptos pose a tremendous threat to the established system is the fact they don’t require people to render their funds up to faceless financial entities that hold all the cards.
PayPal is still working from this model and, sadly for their shareholders, the development of blockchain-based payment systems is progressing rapidly.
Dealing the cards
Another area where PayPal is losing the battle is on the card front.
At the time of writing, there are some credible options out there, including the likes of AdvCash, which boasts its own e-wallet, free international transfers, and no monthly fee. The only downside is that only EU countries are eligible for the card.
Another popular option for US customers is the Bitpay Bitcoin Debit Card, which also offers a secure e-wallet and prepaid Visa card. Only home addresses are accepted, so no PO boxes and a government-issued ID is required.
One of the best options on the market today is Wirex, who provide Visa debit cards with zero loading fees and supplied free with a Wirex currency account.
One of the real positives about a Wirex account is the Cryptoback feature, that lets you earn 0.5% on all in-store card payments, redeemable in crypto or conversion into fiat.
Holding out for nothing
Banks are already using Bitcoin to settle transfers that SWIFT was being used for last year, and if JP Morgan’s patent for a new interbank transfer system is an indication of things to come, the highest levels of banking understand the potential blockchain brings to the table.
Even though PayPal may be in one of the best positions to develop an amazing platform to handle not only money transfers in both crypto and fiat, they have also done everything they can to discourage the use of their existing platform for anything related to cryptos.
If PayPal had embraced Bitcoin a few years ago, they could be butting heads in New York for major Wall St. money with Coinbase. Instead, their long-time partners are fleeing, and there is no word from their management about how they plan to maintain the company’s position in a world that is leaving them behind.