On June 23 of this year I reported on the rumors regarding PayPal and Venmo to enable Bitcoin buying/selling:

PayPal PYPL +0.3% officially announced its plans to allow its ~350 million users to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. This news came amid a steady run-up in the crypto markets, with Bitcoin up ~80% YTD and 3% since its low in March:

BTC-USD Coinbase price and NTerminal estimated volume YTD. Source: NTerminal data in Splunk

This announcement has catalyzed discussion about the adoption and institutionalization of digital assets. There are opposing views from within the community in regards to both the significance of this news, and whether it is supportive or detrimental to the vision of a decentralized financial future.

Not your keys… While this move will allow more individuals the ability to get exposure to these assets, users will not be able to transfer the crypto on-chain:

In an attempt to better understand the discussion, I analyze natural language data aggregated by NTerminal within Splunk. To start, we can compare the number of total events with the keyword “Bitcoin” that mention “PayPal” over time, as well as the number of unique document urls referenced:

Natural Language Analysis of Paypal Mentions YTD. Source: NTerminal data in Splunk

As we should expect, we see a clear spike in the quantity of PayPal mentions in events pertaining to Bitcoin. Using an API from IBM IBM +0.5%, we can estimate the sentiment towards the term “bitcoin” in each of these events. The results are categorized into “negative,” “neutral,” or “positive” for simplicity:

Bitcoin IBM Term-Sentiment with PayPal mentions YTD. Source: NTerminal data in Splunk

Total counts of events and document urls by sentiment YTD. Source: NTerminal data in Splunk

Using entity recognition for potential organization name candidates since Oct 21st, when PayPal posted the press release, we see that PayPal has the most unique document url mentions in events with the keyword “bitcoin” (excluding the detected potential entity “BTC”).

Top 10 organization name candidates recognized in bitcoin events since 10/21/20. Source: NTerminal data in Splunk

This indicates that the PayPal news is likely dominating much of the recent discussion. As we might expect, this news seems to be primarily circulated by crypto/blockchain media outlets, which we can see through author/source agent tags:

Paypal mentions in Bitcoin events by tag since 10/21/20. Source: NTerminal data in Splunk

Just for comparison, we can do the same for a word like “schnorr” which is the name of a digital signature posed as an alternative algorithm for signing Bitcoin messages. Here, events are primarily produced from agents with “tech” or “security” tags:

Schnorr mentions in Bitcoin events by tag YTD. Source: NTerminal data in Splunk

While this analysis surely is not compressive, it can help us contextualize the impact of the news, and the discussion surrounding it. Regardless of your opinion on whether it is positive or negative for Bitcoin, PayPal’s announcement is perhaps the most active topic in crypto/blockchain media right now.

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