Peter Thiel: Bitcoin Payment System 'Badly Lacking'

Investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has again expressed lukewarm views on bitcoin, saying it lacks a payment system.

AccessTimeIconSep 12, 2014 at 5:08 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:09 a.m. UTC

Peter Thiel, the notable entrepreneur and Silicon Valley venture capitalist who co-founded PayPal, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the current volume of bitcoin payments, saying a payment system to surround its technological base is "badly lacking".

Thiel made the comments while participating in a Reddit AMA (ask-me-anything) earlier today, where several questioners asked his opinion on bitcoin and other digital currencies.

He responded:

"PayPal built a payment system but failed in its goal in creating a 'new world currency' (our slogan from back in 2000). Bitcoin seems to have created a new currency (at least on the level of speculation), but the payment system is badly lacking."

"I will become more bullish on Bitcoin when I see the payment volume of Bitcoin really increase."

Thiel did not respond to follow-up questions on the matter.

Person of interest

Given his anti-establishment political stance and past involvement with PayPal and hardcore libertarian projects like The Seasteading Institute, German-born Thiel has long been watched by the bitcoin community. As he noted himself, a key goal behind the original PayPal concept was to create an internet-based global currency.

His Founders Fund was also an early investor in BitPay, to the tune of $2m.

His views on bitcoin otherwise, however, have been lukewarm. While he appears to believe in its underlying principles, in 2013 he said bitcoin had a "20% chance of success".

Just a couple of months later he appeared more optimistic, telling a conference that bitcoin and encrypted money systems had the potential to change the world.

He said at the time:

“It is worth thinking about money as the bubble that never ends. There is this sort of potential that bitcoin could become this new phenomenon.”

He also noted that many of the arguments against bitcoin, including that its value was fake or the result of a bubble, also applied to the world's fiat currencies including the US dollar.

Image via Fortune Live Media / Flickr


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Read more about