The bitcoins The network now handles more volume than online payments giant PayPal, according to the latest data.
Figures from Blockdata company Blockdata show that the bitcoin network processed an average of $ 489 billion per quarter in 2021, compared to Pay Palaveraging $ 302 billion per quarter.
Bitcoin’s figure is still far behind that of other major payment processors Mastercard ($ 1.8 trillion per quarter) and Visa ($ 3.2 trillion per quarter).
PayPal’s announcement last year that customers can buy, sell and spend bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through its online platform, opened up digital assets to over 300 million customers and around 20 million active traders globally, and triggered the start of a price hike that saw the value of BTC rise over 400% over the course of of the last 12 months.
Bitcoin’s trading volume was boosted by this price spike, which nearly doubled against the US dollar in 2021.
“In theory, if the price of bitcoin increased by around 260% today, to reach $ 245,000, the bitcoin network would theoretically process a daily volume equivalent to the Mastercard network,” Sam Wouters, senior analyst at Blockdata, noted in a blog post.
“Price isn’t the only way bitcoin can catch up, however, and volume isn’t the only way to define the size of a financial network.”
The bitcoin network averages around 280,000 transactions per day on its base layer (not including layer 2 technologies like the Lightning Network), compared to around 366 million per day for Mastercard and 597 million per day for Visa.
“This is where the gap between networks is huge, but not without reason,” Wouters wrote.
“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 works.
“A lot can change over the next few years, and a conservative estimate of 2026 for bitcoin to reach the scale of a network like Mastercard or Visa, may not be so optimistic after all.”
Bitcoin’s current market cap of $ 11.1 trillion is already greater than the combined value of Mastercard, PayPal, and Visa.