In a recent PayPal survey regarding online shopping and payment methods, PayPal asked Reddit user SwiftBoatVet whether or not they used Bitcoin as a method of payment for goods and services. That’s when Vet started taking screenshots of the questions that PayPal began asking once they said yes.
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In a post on Reddit, Vet stated, “Halfway through, the questions changed to Bitcoin specific. There were about four to five pages comparing PayPal and Bitcoin.” The questions, documented throughout this article, were asking Vet to rate PayPal against Bitcoin on a scale from one to ten; one being “does not describe at all” and ten being “describes completely."
"I'm not sure why they sent me the survey. I have a personal PayPal I use for eBay and sometimes for websites," Vet told me, "The questions were mainly how much do you spend online, what methods do you use, what percentage do you use each method. I said that I made approximately 25 percent of my online purchases with Bitcoin. That triggered four to five pages of comparing Bitcoin to PayPal."
As you can see above, the questions do vary. The second question is in regard to a “Bitcoin account,” which possibly shows that PayPal employees don’t fully understand the core principles of digital currency. While PayPal president David Marcus and the executives may be well-versed in the concepts of Bitcoin, the public relations employees may not be as well informed.
The other questions track the ease of payment, setting up an “account," which I can only assume is the equivalent to a wallet, and the ease of keeping track of spending activity. It seems as though PayPal is either looking at Bitcoin to integrate, or as competition overall. Either situation is feasible after eBay CEO Ed Donahoe put pressure on PayPal earlier this month.
But the questions don’t stop there.
The next portion is in regards to safety, information and resolved issues. At this point, it seems PayPal is comparing apples to oranges. Bitcoin cannot do the same things as PayPal as it is a currency, not a service. While it’s always exciting that PayPal is curious about the popular digital currency, it’s unfortunate that their understanding is a bit twisted.
The last question is one of the more important ones for the digital currency community. Obviously anyone that uses Bitcoin is going to be biased, but if PayPal is willing to ask regardless then they may be sensing a bit of pressure in their service.
The Coinbase Effect
Lately, it seems as though Coinbase has been setting themselves up to be a huge step forward for the Bitcoin community. By helping Expedia and Dish TV recently accept Bitcoin payments, they have proven themselves to be the necessary equivalent in the digital currency realm as PayPal is to the fiat currency industry.
This might be one of the biggest factors in PayPal’s consideration. While they’re being incredibly quiet about it, they have eBay on one side giving them an earful and Coinbase on the other taking highly valuable business away from them. If there was ever a time PayPal needed to consider integrating Bitcoin, it’s now. With Coinbase taking initiative, PayPal risks losing out on their chance.
Disclaimer: I do have some Bitcoin.
Last modified (UTC): June 12, 2014 6:01 AM