Online payments processing giant PayPal is again trailing Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency by market capitalization, in terms of annual transaction volume. 2018 Bitcoin transaction volume was pegged at a massive $1.3 trillion versus PayPal’s $578.65 billion over the same time period.
The first time that Bitcoin surpassed the annual transaction value processed by PayPal was back in 2017 when it more than $1 Trillion worth of Bitcoin transactions was recorded, surpassing PayPal by $543.5 Billion. This data has been made available by the Global Statistics data aggregator service.
Following the largest Bull Run in cryptocurrency at the start of 2018, the rest of the year was a protracted bear market that saw Bitcoin shed close to 85% of its value from its all-time high prices back in mid-December 2017. The rest of the cryptocurrencies lost more in what has been described as the longest bear market in history. Despite the tough times, Bitcoin seems to be gaining more traction and adoption.
Granted the cryptocurrency space is comprised of both speculators and technology adopters as opposed to PayPal’s use for payments, however, PayPal enjoys wider adoption and more regulatory approval than Bitcoin. On top of that, PayPal has been in existence for a longer period than the nascent Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Despite the growing transaction differences between the two technological innovations, both benefited from a growing remittances industry. According to World Bank statistics, the remittance market has grown by 10% between 2017 and 2018 to $689 billion. Bitcoin, however, gained the extra edge over PayPal due to the rise in transactions across major cryptocurrency exchanges according to research firm Diar.
The World Bank further forecasts a 3.7% growth rate in the year 2019 for the remittance industry which signals that services such as those offered by PayPal will see further growth while Bitcoin could gain further adoption as cross-border payments become more prevalent. This is because Bitcoin transaction fees are significantly less compared to PayPal’s fees, a fact that is appealing to several users. If several users were to get past the steep learning curve for blockchain technologies, the adoption metrics for major cryptocurrencies would sky-rocket. However, the adoption rate for cryptocurrencies is slower than most industry experts would want it to be despite the marked increase over the past few years.
In 2019, cryptocurrencies are expected to be gaining more recognition and adoption following the launch of several products in the space. For instance, the industry is highly anticipating the launch of the first US-based Bitcoin ETF and the launch of Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt Bitcoin futures platform. Both of these products are expected to bring more liquidity into the Bitcoin markets, therefore, increasing the adoption of Bitcoin and digital assets by extension.