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Michael Kamerman, CEO of Skilling, shares his opinion on what stock you should watch this week.


With companies well into earnings season, this week alone will see 152 of the companies in the S&P 500 report their earnings.

Given the macro-economic climate, these results should reflect a slowing economy. However, PayPal is one company that has been struggling for the past year, even before these market trends came into play.

In fact, PayPal shares lost over 78% of their value from peak to trough, and when their Q4 2021 earnings report was published in February 2022, their shares went down by 25% on the day – wiping $50 billion in market value.

However, investors should consider the impact of higher inflation, consumer spending and supply chain issues on PayPal’s performance. This was also heightened when competitor eBay launched a payment service, in turn taking eBay sellers away from PayPal.

Despite these factors, PayPal is set on improving its profitability. Last month, it was reported that Elliott Management, a firm known for its tough tactics to improve profitability, had taken a stake in the company.

In turn, PayPal expects to reduce costs by $900 million this year, with annualised benefits from the cuts and other changes set to save the company $1.3 billion in 2023. For investors, this focus on capital efficiency will likely see shares rise, up on the 13% already gained on Tuesday after the company posted stronger than expected second-quarter results. 

Overall, investors shouldn’t write off the company completely, especially given PayPal has posted better than expected revenue and user growth for Q1 2022. However, they should remember that consumer spending in the post-pandemic age is extremely difficult to predict. 

Disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 80% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. 

Not investment advice. Past performance does not guarantee or predict future performance. 


1. PayPal

Following the financial success of his first-ever startup, Zip2, which sold for $307 million in 1999, Elon Musk went on to invest the bulk of his profits into his next venture. Musk founded financial services company, one of the world’s first online banks, alongside Harris Fricker, Ed Ho, and Christopher Payne.  

By 2000, had merged with Silicon Valley software firm Confinity Inc and changed its name to PayPal.  eBay purchased PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002 when Musk owned 7,109,989 shares in the company. This made Musk the largest shareholder with a stake of 11.7%.

Following PayPal’s sale, Musk exited his position and used his proceeds to fund even larger investments such as SpaceX and Tesla. 

2. SpaceX

Elon Musk founded his space exploration company SpaceX back in 2002, with the company’s founding mission to revolutionise space technology, including developing spacecraft that are capable of transporting humans to Mars

In 2006, SpaceX was awarded a lucrative contract with NASA and, by 2008, SpaceX launched the first-ever private liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit Falcon 1. In 2010, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft travelled to the International Space Station (ISS) and, two years later, NASA granted Musk’s company a second contract to help shuttle crew members to the ISS. In 2021, NASA agreed to yet another contract with SpaceX to ferry astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon aboard its Starship vehicles. 

In May of this year, SpaceX’s valuation hit a whopping $125 billion, a $25 billion increase from just the year before. Furthermore, last October, investment bank Morgan Stanley predicted that SpaceX could see Musk become the world’s first trillionaire, with analyst Adam Jonas expecting the company’s worth to rapidly reach £200 trillion and beyond as SpaceX cashes in on a range of potential space-related industries.

3. Tesla

In the early 2000s, Elon Musk co-founded electric vehicle startup, Tesla, contributing $6.5 million of the initial $7.5 million round of investment in 2004 and becoming the company’s chairman. In 2008, Musk became Tesla’s CEO and, two years later, Musk decided to take Tesla public. The EV company launched its initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq in June, with shares of common stock initially available to the public at $17 per share. 

In October 2021, Tesla became the sixth company in US history to be worth $1 trillion. As of April 2022, Musk is Tesla’s largest shareholder, owning approximately 17% of the company’s shares, or around 175 million shares overall. 

Commenting on Tesla’s purpose in 2019, Musk said, “The fundamental goodness of Tesla ... so, like the ‘why’ of Tesla, the relevance, what’s the point of Tesla, comes down to two things: acceleration of sustainable energy and autonomy.”

“The acceleration of sustainable energy is absolutely fundamental because this is the next potential risk for humanity [...] So obviously, that is, by far and away, the most important thing.”

4. The Boring Company

In 2017, Musk founded The Boring Company — an infrastructure and tunnel construction services company. Behind The Boring Company is the premise that finding effective ways of digging tunnel networks for vehicles and high-speed trains will end traffic congestion. The company aims to reduce the cost of tunnelling whilst simultaneously making tunnel production more efficient. 

In 2019, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority approved a $48.6 million proposal from The Boring Company to produce the LVCC Loop, an underground tunnel that would run beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center, featuring three stations and also a tunnel for pedestrians. 

By 2021, The Boring Company had officially completed the loop and opened it for public use. As of 2022, The Boring Company is valued at almost $5.7 billion and has also completed additional projects in Hawthorne, California and has another ongoing project in Las Vegas. 

Final Thoughts

As the world’s richest man, Elon Musk has made some risky yet incredibly smart investments over the years. We hope you enjoyed looking at 4 of his greatest. 


However, a few payment methods still sustain their popularity due to their high credibility, and using PayPal is one of them. PayPal became one of the most prominent names in the world of payment processing after its partnership with eBay. You may be wondering why PayPal is so popular despite the high competition in online payment methods, and your curiosity is completely justified. This list of three advantages will prove the competence of PayPal in the world of payment processing and help you understand the uniqueness of PayPal.

1. Facilitates Online And On-Site Sales

PayPal is the ultimate payment processing solution for your online and in-person sales. The flexibility of PayPal is one of its unique selling points. In addition, it is reasonably easy to integrate with your store’s website and takes only a few minutes to configure. PayPal has various point of sale (POS) systems for your in-person sales, and you can quickly receive payments through ERPLY, Brightpearl, Vendor Touchpoint. PayPal chip card reader works well with all these and also enables contactless payments from Google Pay and Apple Pay.

2. Data Security

These days, customers are more informed than ever due to easy access to information. As a result, they care a lot about the cybersecurity and confidentiality of their data. Signing up for PayPal requires you and your customers to add bank accounts and credit cards to use online purchases in the future.
PayPal frees you from cybersecurity worries through its centralised system and keeps all the valuable bank information private by encrypting that information. This eliminates the threat of hacking and data attacks and preserves your customers' valuable information. Using PayPal comes with an additional layer of security as it has built-in systems for fraud prevention. If a purchase payment made through PayPal ends up being fraudulent, the platform promises to return the money to purchasers. Integrating PayPal as one of your payment methods lets you gain your consumers’ confidence, resulting in higher sales.

3. It Is Cost-Effective

PayPal is one of the most reasonably priced payment methods: there are almost no charges involved in making an account with PayPal, and a small fee of 2.7% is only charged when you make a sale through check-in at a store or your e-commerce website. While the international transactions have some additional costs, the US-based transaction fee is kept at a minimum. In addition, PayPal makes the transfer of the funds much quicker as it delivers the funds to your linked bank account in about one or two business days after you have made a sale. You can access the funds right away by using ATM or debit cards, which is especially useful for small businesses struggling with cash flow management.


With digitalisation and e-commerce, competition in every industry is rapidly increasing. Your business must provide the most up-to-date facilities and the best possible services to build long-term relationships with customers and improve customer retention. PayPal benefits your business in multiple areas and has integrated tools to help you succeed. You can gain customer confidence by integrating this big name. With its cost-effective, secure, flexible, and easy-to-use nature, PayPal is indeed the future of online transactions, and it's time your business adapts to this leading technology.

In a letter to the Ukrainian government, PayPal CEO Dan Shulman wrote, "Under the current circumstances, we are suspending PayPal services in Russia”, adding that the company "stands with the international community in condemning Russia's violent military aggression in Ukraine."

The letter was shared on Twitter by Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation Mykhailo Fedorov who thanked PayPal for its move: “So now it’s official: PayPal shuts down its services in Russia citing Ukraine aggression,” Fedorov tweeted Saturday. “Thank you @PayPal for your supporting!

While PayPal discounted domestic services in Russia in 2020, this latest move relates to its remaining business in the country, such as send and receive functions and the ability to make international transfers via the payment processor’s Xoom remittances platform.  

PayPal has said that Russian nationals were prevented from opening new accounts earlier this week. 

On Thursday, SumUp said it was buying Fivestars for $317 million in a mix of stock and cash. Fivestars is an all-in-one payments and marketing platform that helps merchants up rewards schemes and promotions for customers. 

SumUp was founded back in 2012 and is best known for its small credit card readers, which enable small businesses to accept payments. SumUp also provides users with other payment tools, such as the ability for merchants to set up their own online stores. The company currently has over 3 million merchants signed up across Europe, the United States, and Latin America. 

As SumUp plans its expansion into the US, rivalry with big players such as Square and PayPal is bound to step up. However, SumUp says it believes there’s plenty of room for the companies to all co-exist. 

Since starting out, SumUp has raised a total of $1.4 billion in equity and debt financing and has been backed by Bain Capital. Goldman Sachs, and Singapore’s Temasek. 

Meanwhile, Fivestars has raised a total of $115 million before its deal with SumUp and has gained backing from investors such as Lightspeed Venture Partners and Menlo Ventures. 

The company has recently announced that it’s intending to hire hundreds of new staff members in a bid to undergo significant expansion into Europe alongside its IPO. “We’ve always had European origins as a firm, but they’re becoming increasingly important,” said Matt Henderson, Stripe’s business head for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 

Stripe’s expansion into Europe has been steadily gathering momentum over the past year, the company began hiring new engineers for its London office in 2020 and expects this momentum to continue into the future as Stripe sets its sights on global growth upon going public.

As part of its IPO preparations, Stripe’s London office is set to focus largely on growing non-financial company offerings, like bank integrations such as transfers and open banking. In fact, in the coming weeks, engineers will begin testing a “pay-by-bank” integration to the payments network. 

With such activity bubbling under the surface, it’s perhaps no surprise that Stripe has reportedly entered into early discussions with investment banks about the prospect of going public in 2022. The 11-year-old payments provider is said to be considering an initial public offering, but may even opt for a direct listing - although plans were subject to change. 

Most valuable VC-backed companies in the US

Image: The Strategy Story

As 2021’s most valuable private firm in the US, weighing in at a seismic valuation of $95 billion, the prospect of a Stripe IPO would undoubtedly cause a stir to say the least. Should the favourable market conditions that we’ve become accustomed to this year continue into 2022, an initial public offering for the payment giants may return record-breaking results. But what would a Stripe IPO look like? Let’s take a look at what the future has in store for the wildly successful fintech startup.

What A Stripe IPO Could Look Like

With an estimated value of almost $100 billion, a debut would mean that Stripe overtakes fellow fintech Coinbase’s direct listing in April 2021 at a value of $86 billion. Like Coinbase, Stripe may decide to avoid launching an IPO entirely, opting for a direct listing instead. This would mean that investors will need to wait until the stock arrives on its chosen market on its first day of trading, which is likely to be the NASDAQ at the time of writing. 

The company has reportedly already begun the preparatory process of going public by hiring law firm, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP as a legal advisor on the early stages of their preparations. However, there’s still very little that we can know in terms of absolutes as to when, where and how a Stripe stock is set to arrive. 

Can Stripe’s fundamentals support a mega IPO? Well, the company raised $950 million through VC funding in 2019 and 2020 alone - with a $600 million round arriving in 2020 during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company itself experiences sizeable growth during this period due to the rise of online shopping and electronic payments. With a further $600 million raised in 2021, Stripe’s revenues had reportedly climbed to $1.6 billion in 2020, with a workforce 4,000 strong at the time. 

As for competition, Stripe has industry giants like PayPal and Square to compete with. With a market cap of $305 billion at the time of writing, PayPal is a formidable competitor for Stripe - and one that may yet stifle the fintech’s expansion efforts. But amidst a rapidly growing fintech market, there’s likely to be room for both entities to comfortably co-exist to the point where this shouldn’t hinder a prospective Stripe IPO. 

Capitalising On A Prosperous Fintech IPO Market

Funding YTD Exceeds Total Funding In 2020 By 24%

Image: Digital Insurer

The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the fintech industry. Digital transformation brought with it a widespread trend towards more online shopping and electronic payments - which has helped to aid the sustained growth of countless emerging fintech firms. 

As the data above shows, it took just seven months in 2021 to overtake the global VC-backed deal activity for fintechs in the entirety of any of the five years prior. This illustrates the seismic growth that is sweeping through the industry. Although this indicates that growth is occurring for Stripe’s direct competitors in the industry, it also opens the door for more advanced collaborations across the fintech landscape. 

We can see evidence of emerging technologies in the field of decentralised finance and borderless payments that can collaborate with fintech institutions to deliver more advanced products. In the case of emerging companies like Connectum, we can see an example of a VC-backed platform that has the ability to deliver borderless financial services through multi-currency processing, one-click payments and 3D secure, AI-powered transactions to send money globally in a frictionless way.

Quarterly Global Fintech M&A And IPO Activity

Image: FX Street

As the table above illustrates, global fintech M&A and IPO activity are also on the rise - indicating that the industry is maturing at an unprecedented rate. With 10 and 11 IPOs arriving in Q4 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021 respectively, it’s clear that the fintech industry is booming at present. 

This shows that the prospect of a Stripe debut is likely to be a significantly popular one across the market. Should momentum continue to build from 2021 into 2022, Stripe’s debut, regardless of whether it’s an IPO or direct listing, is certain to be a key contender for the biggest of the year - and a real statement of intent for the wider world of fintech. 

In August, news broke that PayPal was exploring the possibility of creating a stock trading platform. This marks a considerable inroad towards retail investment, having rolled out the ability for customers to trade cryptocurrencies last year. 

The company has even hired brokerage industry veteran Rich Hagen as part of the move - who has reportedly become CEO of a previously unreported division of PayPal called Invest at PayPal. 

Daily Average Trades by Major Retail Brokerages

Image by Nasdaq

As the chart above shows, PayPal’s potential foray into the world of retail investing may have been sparked by significant growth in the user base of online brokerages throughout 2020. While the pandemic may have aided new customers in making their first trades through stimulus packages and the free time afforded by social isolation measures, it’s also worth noting that brokerages have become far more popular since adopting zero-commission payment for order flow operating models. 

So far, 2021 appears to be telling a similar story in terms of mass retail investor growth around the world, and experts believe that PayPal is eager to tap into this rise in adoption. 

The surge in retail investing, as well as the knowledge that more than 10 million new investors entered the market in the first half of 2021, are driving PayPal's interest in this industry,” explains Maxim Manturov, head of investment research at Freedom Finance Europe. “PayPal wants to ride this wave while also keeping up with the competition. Since then, Robinhood Markets, Inc. has grown to over 22.5 million net accounts by the conclusion of the second quarter of the 2021 fiscal year, an increase of 129.6% year over year.

Meanwhile, Square, Inc., PayPal's main competitor in the payment processing sector, has already incorporated features to its Cash App payment service that make it easier to trade equities and cryptocurrencies. And this is a major milestone in the evolution of the PayPal ecosystem. PayPal is a well-known brand that handles 22% of all online transactions in the United States and has a high degree of consumer trust. These criteria indicate that if it enters the retail investment market, it will be rewarded with a more extensive user base.”

PayPal’s Industry Muscle

PayPal will be aiming to leverage its industry muscle to compete with established online brokerages like Robinhood. Today the payments giant is responsible for leveraging 22% of online transactions in the US, while also retaining a relatively high level of consumer trust along the way. 

PayPal Total Payment Volume

Image by Insider

With such significantly high total payment volumes around the world, PayPal could feasibly enter the market as the largest brokerage on the planet, with some 400 million customers already in place worldwide. 

PayPal’s global reach may also help on its path to prominence, with the possibility of accessing markets that the likes of Robinhood haven’t yet accessed, due to Robinhood only being available for US-based customers at the time of writing. However, some market commentators have expressed their fears that, although PayPal boasts a significant global user base, it may be too late for a party that’s been building throughout 2020. 

Late To The Party? 

Despite its huge volume of users, PayPal may still run into trouble winning over retail investors for their new service - particularly in the US where Robinhood has already performed exceptionally well in months. 

In conversation with Motley Fool’s Industry Focus host Jason Moser, financial planner, Matthew Frankel expressed his bafflement that PayPal had taken so long to push forward with plans to launch their own online retail brokerage. 

My other adjacent thought to that is, are they late to the party? Has everyone else already scooped up that? Stock trading exploded in the middle of 2020,” Frankel added, noting that in missing the pandemic investment gold rush, PayPal may find itself at a disadvantage in winning over users who may have already acquainted themselves with other brokerages. 

CB Insights graph showing Robinhood’s monthly active users

Image by CB Insights

As the data above shows, Robinhood’s monthly active users swelled to 20 million in the early months of 2021 - owing to the sheer volume of coverage that the platform received in the wake of the Gamestop short squeeze. The trading app has now become synonymous with meme stocks and although its reputation has taken knocks from many Wall Street stalwarts like Warren Buffett, it didn’t stop Robinhood from going public in the summer of 2021 and attaining a sizeable market cap of around $35 billion at the time of writing. 

However, PayPal is far longer in the tooth than Robinhood and the company’s market cap of $316 billion shows that it certainly has the resources to make a success of whatever new concentration it turns its hand to. Winning over Robinhood’s network of retail investors may be one thing, but PayPal certainly has the ability to mount enough of a campaign to woo new users. 

Regulatory Hurdles

However, a bigger hurdle may be lurking around the corner in the form of the regulatory boundaries that PayPal will need to navigate. If PayPal wants to create its own brokerage subsidiary, regulatory approval will need to take at least eight months to complete. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has already made it clear that it’s concerned about the level of ‘gamification’ taking place in the retail investing market of late - and the arrival of new key players may compound those fears. 

Ultimately, the unease of the SEC may cause the required approvals to take longer, while the commission has also made it clear that it’s considering imposing a ban on the popular payment for order flow investing models that have helped to bolster the revenue of Robinhood and many other industry leaders. 

Should PayPal opt to create its own retail investing tool, it will be entering an industry that is perhaps at its most volatile stage. However, with an ever-growing base of active users, PayPal is aware that it’s tapping into an industry that’s become extremely popular in recent months. With the right navigation, the payment giants may be able to hurdle its uncertainty and make a big splash in the ever-popular retail investing landscape. 

The flip side is that Cash App has its drawbacks. For example, Cash App users can’t enjoy bill splitting, and they have restrictions on the amount ($1,000) they can receive within a month. Then there are the geo-restrictions (the U.K. and U.S. users only) and limited social experience to be considered. These drawbacks imply that Cash App isn't for everyone. That’s why we will be looking at some alternatives that you can explore if Cash App no longer works for you. Read on.

1. Venmo 

Venmo is a great payment transfer solution for small and middle-sized businesses that do not need the hassles of the more complex payment solutions out there. Available on iPhone, iPad and Android, Venmo is compatible with Bitcoin. It allows you also to pay friends and family, send money, and make purchases with your Venmo account. You also get to link your bank account or debit card to your Venmo account with zero hassles. But simplicity and convenience are not all that Venmo offers. Users are guaranteed secure transactions, too, as premium encryption measures protect their account information. You also have your account activity monitored so that unauthorised transactions are easily detected. One big selling point of the Venmo app is that standard service is free, and only a 1% fee is deducted for instant transfers. To read more about Venmo limits, check out Almvest's article on the topic.

2. PayPal

PayPal is one of the best payment processing brands out there. This payment processing solution is user-centric and has a robust encryption technology that secures your transactions. With PayPal, users get to transfer money to and from any U.S.-based bank account and several foreign accounts. There are no charges for transferring funds to family or friends from a PayPal or bank account balance. However, you'd need to pay certain charges to send money from a credit card or convert currencies.

3. Sage Payment Solutions 

This is an effective financial solution for businesses that need a cost-effective payment solution with a global outreach. It is designed to serve all sizes of businesses by facilitating the smooth flow of funds. Sage Payment Solutions offers excellent payment processing options and seamless integration to Sage accounting solutions so that you can get faster payments via e-invoicing. Your business also gets to generate made-to-order invoices that come with automatic payment reconciliation and click-to-play options. Sage Payment Solutions is available for Cloud, Windows and Mac and is an excellent alternative for companies that accept payments. 

4. Apple Pay

Apple Pay offers secure, contactless purchases for owners of Apple devices who need to carry out financial transactions on the go. It is a safe and simple way to make payments without the trouble of handling cash or having to fill out any forms at all. Available for Cloud, Mac, iPhone and iPad, Apple Pay allows you to pay for whatever you want with nothing more than a touch. One of the best things about Apple Pay is that it supports credit cards, debit cards, In-App and In-Store payments and enables cryptocurrency transactions. 

5. Revolut

This financial app is one of the heavy-hitters in the industry as it is specifically designed for firms that need software solutions that offer them great control over their finances. It is available for Cloud, iPhone, iPad and Android and is a great tool to have when managing the financial aspects. There are no hidden fees for sending and receiving international payments, and its multi-currency accounts allow its users to transact in over 28 currencies at real exchange rates. With a Revolut business account, users can make local and international payments free of charge as long as the transfers are within their plan allowances. With a Revolut Business account, you can issue virtual and physical in addition to tracking the spending activity of your staff. Plus, you get to capture receipts in the app and program your expenditure. 

6. Coinbase 

Cryptocurrency has revolutionised the global financial space, and more people are looking to exploit its potential for financial transactions. Coinbase was designed with cryptocurrency transactions in mind. Available for Cloud, iPhone, iPad, and Android, the Coinbase app provides an excellent platform for buying, selling, and managing your cryptocurrency. Users get to trade in popular digital currencies easily while enjoying the ability to keep their funds in a vault that is linked with their bank accounts. If you are looking to make the most of your cryptocurrency transactions, then Coinbase is the app for you. 

7. Zelle 

Zelle provides an excellent way for users to pay friends or family right from their bank. Once Zelle users have an account at a participating bank, they can send cash with same-day transfers to recipients with an account at any participating bank. The good news is that many banking giants like Chase, Bank of America, Citi, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, Ally and Capital One are all Zelle participants. Better still, sending and receiving money via Zelle is free of charge. It even gets better; you can send without having to install the Zelle app on your phone.

8. Facebook Pay 

Facebook Pay allows you to make payments and other financial obligations easily and securely. It is available for Cloud, iPhone, iPad, and Android, and it allows you to buy stuff from the Marketplace easily. You can also connect Facebook Pay to other apps so that you can easily transact there whenever you want. The payment gateway is designed to facilitate payments for goods and services on Facebook apps and products. Plus, users get to transfer money to friends and family just as quickly as sending a Facebook message. 

9. Skrill 

Skrill is another popular payment software that you could use in place of the Cash App. Available for Cloud, Skrill offers users an online wallet that allows users to make online payments and send money online. Plus, users get to have a Skrill card and enjoy a loyalty program. 


Cash App is a great payment processing app. However, it is not without shortcomings that make it less than suitable for specific situations and demands. There are way too many financial situations for one app to satisfy, no matter how great the app is. Thankfully, other great apps have certain features which can make up for the drawbacks of the Cash App.The apps described in this article are by no means all there are in the payment processing solution space. However, we consider them close alternatives to Cash App, and we hope you found one that serves you.

Arguably, the move is a very good one for PayPal. PayPal’s crypto play seems to have brought more users and higher transaction volumes to its platform. More users than ever before are moving to crypto, particularly younger people and millennials internationally. It has served PayPal well to get in there early.

This move was also great for Bitcoin. It certainly brought them media attention. It also helps the world see how Bitcoin – and crypto – can be made user-friendly and safe in a multitude of uses. It makes a statement to the world that Bitcoin is good, works and has use cases. PayPal’s acceptance of Bitcoin and crypto spells out in big letters to any critic claiming crypto is just for scams or crime that Bitcoin is ok.

Yet, in many ways, this move benefits PayPal more than it does Bitcoin. Bitcoin already has its users, anyone who really wanted to buy Bitcoin by now already will have done so. PayPal however has been rather static. Crypto is a new offering for its users and a new way to attract both more users and more transactions. There isn’t really a reason to check Paypal’s app on a daily or frequent basis, unless users are making a transaction. Accepting crypto means that the amount of times its users check the app – and its transaction volume – has gone up!

PayPal has around 350 million users and 26 million merchants. At the time PayPal started to accept Bitcoin transactions, in October last year, the market cap of PayPal – approximately $250 billion – was roughly the same as that of Bitcoin – approximately $240 billion. Now, PayPal’s has gone up to around $280 billion. Bitcoin, however, is currently hovering around $750 billion and has gone far past that previously. PayPal is, in many ways, replaceable. Sure, PayPal has many users and has first user advantage for the service it offers (and strong backers) but, in theory, PayPal could be replaced by another similar app with a better user experience, cooler marketing and a better brand to appeal to a bigger and younger audience. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine that Bitcoin could ever be fully replaced. For sure, there are thousands of other cryptocurrencies, but they are simply not the same, for many reasons. Bitcoin has first mover advantage, is trust, safe, secure, has a great ecosystem of loyal (and highly skilled) supporters and developers, a big user base and is developing rapidly as well as other differentiating factors.

PayPal’s acceptance of Bitcoin and crypto spells out in big letters to any critic claiming crypto is just for scams or crime that Bitcoin is ok.

It’s not yet known how much Bitcoin and crypto holders will use PayPal to pay with Bitcoin. Generally, most Bitcoin holders want to hold on to the digital currency for the long term, in the belief that it will go up in value. Bitcoin tends to be seen as a nest egg rather than a spending pot.

PayPal’s public endorsement of Bitcoin is great. But it doesn’t change as much as one would think, either for Bitcoin, or PayPal, or traditional banking. Any merchant or user accepting Bitcoin via the app won’t actually receive Bitcoin. The digital currency will be converted in same time to their choice of fiat currency, meaning that as far as they’re concerned, they receive fiat. Had PayPal enabled its merchants to accept and hold money in Bitcoin, and to make other payments in Bitcoin, that might be a slightly different story.

PayPal has indicated they are keen to work closely with regulators and governments to ensure legal compliance in their crypto offering. This will also be true of the many other payment firms looking to accept crypto or already that have a crypto offering. This will potentially help regulators come up with ways to make it easier for other crypto related offerings to get regulated and thus be accepted and used in traditional finance. Other payments firms may also follow Paypal’s lead, making crypto the norm rather than the exception in the roster of offerings expected of traditional finance.

So is PayPal’s acceptance of Bitcoin likely to drastically change anything for traditional banking? No, probably not. The move helps win over some new users for PayPal, ups its transaction volume and increases visits to its app. This in turn could help PayPal come up with new ways to monetise its platform. It’s helped prove the legitimacy of Bitcoin, and more broadly crypto, and is another message to traditional finance that accepting crypto will become far more mainstream soon. Even if traditional banks start allowing their users to accept crypto transactions, most likely they will be cashed out into fiat in live time, just as is happening now with PayPal. Will this move be the one that makes traditional banks open up Bitcoin custody offerings to all their clients? No. Not yet, at least.

Crypto Wars: Faked Deaths, Missing Billions and Industry Disruption by Erica Stanford is published by Kogan Page, priced £14.99, available online and from all good bookshops.

The move marks the first international of PayPal’s crypto product, which was first launched last October in the US. Its crypto feature allows customers to buy or sell bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, or litecoin with just £1. Additionally, customers are also able to track real-time crypto prices and access educational content on the market. 

The extension of the service to the UK will rely on the New York regulated digital currency company Paxos and PayPal has confirmed that it has engaged with all relevant British regulators to launch its crypto service. 

Despite ongoing concerns regarding crypto’s volatility, consumer protection and the potential for money laundering issues, many major companies including Tesla, Mastercard, and Facebook have been opening up to crypto in recent months. PayPal is one of the many large finance firms choosing to embrace the unregulated world of crypto. The move by the online payments giants comes as Bitcoin hit $50,000 on Sunday, reaching a more than 3-month high. 

Online financial services giant PayPal has increased the amount of cryptocurrency users can purchase by five times, and is scrapping its annual purchase limit of $50,000. PayPal’s vice president has said that the changes will allow users to have greater choice and flexibility when purchasing cryptocurrency on PayPal’s platforms. 

The financial services giant first began allowing users to purchase cryptocurrencies in October 2020, later adding the option to buy bitcoin via its mobile payment app, Venmo. There is a $1 dollar spending requirement on the product, which allows users to share crypto purchases via Venmo’s social feed. 

When the move by PayPal was first announced, it was considered a substantial step in bringing digital assets to mainstream buyers. However, since April, bitcoin has lost around half of its value when it reached an all-time high of around $60,000. Despite El Salvador becoming the first country to adopt bitcoin as a legal tender back in June, cryptocurrencies have recently faced substantial criticism and opposition, particularly from the Chinese government

2021 has seen a huge tie in of key areas including our biggest foe – COVID-19 and one of the most current trending terms, Net-Zero. Of course, with most of us obeying the rules of lockdown, there has been a huge online presence for retail and of course, NFTs. Unfortunately, some of my most compelling investments and eyes on companies are early-stage, not listed, so I cannot add them to this list. However, I will be writing up soon on the ones to get in early if you are like me and like a diverse early-stage portfolio.

With digital art selling for which some would consider ludicrous amounts of money and major sports leagues throwing collector cards at any platform they can, will NFTs be the dot-com bubble that led to so much loss only two decades ago?

Personally, I have been curve balling away from art and music NFTs for a little while. I may kick myself in the future, but I am sitting back and waiting for things to settle a little or at least, a set of platforms and standards which would make a standard for at least ensuring a real value and security in my collection. However, I have been watching the game world and the big things happening on the so-called “metaverse”.

I mentioned Animoca in a previous article, and voila, Sandbox has sold vast chunks of virtual land recently, propelling the SAND coin up the ranks.

This month, I have been concentrating on all those goodies which have been developing for the last year and also the online gaming markets, along with the retail trends which have really changed a great deal during our prison sentences.

So, let’s start with retail. I tip my hat to Debenhams at this point – I have great memories of visiting the stores but unfortunately, way too many things went wrong for them. Goodbye to a fond memory!


CEO Dan Schulman has made public statements recently into the payment giant’s movements, which have tied in very nicely with the pandemic and people’s moves to digital payments.  Over the last year, I have used little cash, with my preferred Apple Pay taking precedence. Even the Royal Mint seem to be in a panic over the decrease in cash use.

However, this is not the only thing making the stocks be eyed again. Around three years ago, I advised on the changes to retail when looking at the Battersea Power Station project and the vast movement to experiential shopping behaviours of consumers. The mass floor space is becoming a thing of the past and shoppers are happier to buy and receive goods the next day. PayPal payments can be a big driver behind this and if we are moving to a cashless society, secure payment methods are key. PayPal has developed a great deal of technology to protect the buyer and my bets are on them targeting further into the physical purchase markets.

Next up – online gaming. The big players are really pushing hard now, very likely due to the demand on games from the stay-at-home players, who are wanting more from the experience. Even colleges in the US are designing courses for gameplay and the next Olympics will very likely see full-scale digital Olympians too.

Epic Games

This powerhouse is the creator of the Unreal VR engine and is certainly taking the product very seriously. It’s not only the gaming world this covers, but also the whole CGI arena and the Unreal engine has just empowered MetaHuman, the latest and rather scary fully mapped human creation engine. Epic has not gone for their IPO yet, but I am waiting, ready to pounce when they do. However, if you are wanting to get in on the game (excuse the pun), then you can buy a bit of Tencent Holding (TCEHY), which has a stake in Epic right now.

Epic is also taking the Metaverse world very seriously and if executed correctly, rather than trying to own the whole thing, the Unreal engine could certainly be a standards contender across the whole verse.

Now it’s time to reach for the stars. SpaceX is firmly on my radar, especially with the Starlink satellite-based internet service rolling out. I hear you say: “Hey they are not even close to IPO”, and you would be right. I imagine it will happen in 2023 when Musk presses the button. However, I have a trick up my sleeve.

Alphabet Inc.  

Okay, what on earth has Google got to do with SpaceX? Easy, they invested into 10% stock when it was an infant getting going. By investing in Google, you can bypass the huge overinflation of the upcoming IPO and sit on Google’s early seed investment, which I believe is still around 9%. Buckle up and become part of the space race.

As a final thought, I move to MedTech, which is one of the areas I consider to be a present and future requirement highlighted during COVID. Much of the research and development which took place can be used to continue the fight against future viruses and even other medical issues.


Apart from other immunoassays, Quidel received rapid emergency-use authorisation from the FDA for their COVID-19 antigen test. Unlike many other tests, theirs is designed to test asymptomatic individuals. This alone is something to propel a stock, but they are also using a great deal of known research from previous tests to provide key medical test solutions into the future.

What we do know with MedTech, is that it is going to play a much more important role in our future daily lives. The pandemic hit us hard, but there almost certainly will be other viruses and infections which will haunt us and these companies are key to far more rapid solutions than we probably gave them credit for.

Next time, I will be looking into those companies which could have made a completely different outcome to the COVID-19 pandemic in the field of vastly more intelligent tracking and tracing and even predictions of further waves of virus mutation. There was a complete lack of interoperability across the world when it came to information and traceability. Red-listing countries post avalanche of people movement, quarantines with very poor intelligence, zero prediction of further waves. It is time for a change and I am a firm believer in a global information interchange. People may scoff at this, but whilst reading this article, you are using the world’s largest data interchange platform - the Internet.

Finally, I am watching one of my own big bets, EyA – which may be listing in the not so distant future. Fingers on the button with this one, that is for sure!


 The content is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Nothing contained in this article constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by Graham Norton-Standen, HIG, Finance Monthly or any third-party service provider to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments.

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