Critical Section

The new world currency

Monday,  05/23/05  08:23 PM

I was EVP/Engineering of PayPal for a while - something of which I'm quite proud, although the company was already on path for major success before I joined - and at that time, 2001, we used the slogan "PayPal, the new world currency".  This is something we actually believed, even back when everything was done in dollars; all the conference rooms were named after currencies.  (As I recall "Yuan" and "Won" were adjacent, leading to a bit of confusion :)

Anyway the latest issue of the Economist has an interesting survey of international finance, and I was curious to see where, in the eyes of this magazine's London editors, PayPal fit in.  They don't get it, at least, not yet...

From: Ole Eichhorn []
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005 6:35 PM
To: ''
Subject: PayPal revisited

Dear Sirs:

In your otherwise excellent and accurate recent survey of international payments, your correspondent notes “Even PayPal, which is used for payments on eBay, an internet auction site, is only an intermediary between the bank accounts of the buyer and seller.”  This is false.  PayPal is an online transaction system where account holders make deposits and withdrawals, and transfer funds from one to another in payment for services entirely outside conventional financial institutions.  There are currently 71M accounts held by users in 45 countries, and funds may be held in any of six currencies.  PayPal pays interest on deposits, offers debit cards, and facilitates online bill payment, among other banking services.  PayPal is indeed useful on eBay for settlement, and this is its largest market, but an estimated 42,000 websites accept PayPal as an alternative to credit cards.

To those who thought “the internet would come to replace the simpler parts of the banking system”, this has indeed come true.  It is only a matter of time before this disruptive technology’s attack from the bottom of the market upward becomes felt by major banks.

Thanks for your attention.



From: Letters to the Editor []
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2005 6:37 PM
Subject: Re: PayPal revisited

The Editor wishes to acknowledge your email with thanks.

It will be passed on to the appropriate person.

Stay tuned...

this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained