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Former PayPal President Wants to Turn Bitcoin Into Global Payment Network

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Former PayPal President David Marcus aims to transform Bitcoin from a value store into a global payment network.
  • Marcus believes Bitcoin, in conjunction with the Lightning Network, could serve as a settlement layer for international transactions.
  • Despite a 14.5% decline in Lightning Network channels since the start of the year, Marcus remains optimistic about its potential.
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Former president of PayPal and product VP at Facebook, David Marcus, has big ambitions for the Bitcoin network. He wants BTC to evolve from a store of value into a global payments network. 

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box on September 11, the former PayPal executive said,

“We’re trying to turn Bitcoin into a global payment network.”

Bitcoin Payments Settlement Layer

Marcus is the CEO of the innovative Bitcoin Lightning Network (LN) infrastructure company Lightspark. 

“There’s no universal protocol for money on the internet that enables value to be transported,” he said

He compared technologies such as email or messaging, which are global and universal, with finances, which are not. Each country has its own currency, its own payment apps, and its own rules. He added, 

“We’re still in the fax era of global payments.”

A text can be sent anywhere using a universally recognized phone number. However, there is no facility to do so with money without jumping through several hoops and paying fees, and forex spreads to intermediaries.  

Marcus said it is a “ginormous” business opportunity, with trillions of dollars sent through current systems such as SWIFT.

If you’re confused about how to accept crypto payments, we got you covered: How To Accept Crypto Payments: A Brief Guide

Moreover, he said, “Our view is that Bitcoin is not the currency people will use to buy things.” But, a fragment of BTC on top of the Lightning Network is like a “data packet on the internet only for value,” he added. 

The plan is to use the LN and BTC as a settlement layer for international transactions. Any currency can be sent to any other currency directly with instant settlement, so BTC price fluctuations are not an issue. 

Marcus spearheaded Facebook’s foray into digital currencies in 2018 but left the firm in late 2021 after the project failed to gain traction. 

Lightning Network Growth 

Lightspark is an enterprise-grade gateway to the LN. However, its pricing structure makes it unviable for retail use at the moment. 

In August, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong hinted at the integration of the Bitcoin layer-2 scaling solution on the platform.

LN usage has fallen slightly since its peak in early 2022, but this is expected in a bear market.

Lightning Network Capacity for Bitcoin Payments. Source: Bitcoin Visuals 
Lightning Network Capacity for Bitcoin Payments. Source: Bitcoin Visuals 

There are currently 72,593 LN channels, according to Bitcoin Visuals, a decline of 14.5% since the beginning of the year. The current network capacity is around 4,782 BTC, which is approximately $123 million at current prices. 

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Martin Young
Martin Young is a seasoned cryptocurrency journalist and editor with over 7 years of experience covering the latest news and trends in the digital asset space. He is passionate about making complex blockchain, fintech, and macroeconomics concepts understandable for mainstream audiences.   Martin has been featured in top finance, technology, and crypto publications including BeInCrypto, CoinTelegraph, NewsBTC, FX Empire, and Asia Times. His articles provide an in-depth analysis of...
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