Timeline of PayPal
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|Time period||Key developments at PayPal|
|January 1999 – March 2000||The two companies, Confinity and X.com, that will eventually merge to become PayPal, launch separately and build competing financial products. The first iteration of the PayPal product is released by Confinity in later 1999.|
|March 2000 – July 2002||Confinity and X.com merge. The combined entity, initially called X.com, later changes its name to PayPal. PayPal adopts eBay as a key platform to grow its userbase, because of the need for an online payment system on eBay. eBay responds with its own payment service, Billpoint. PayPal competes fiercely with Billpoint, raises a huge amount of money, and even IPOs in February 2002.|
|October 2002 – mid-2010||PayPal is acquired by eBay. The product and userbase grow steadily, faster than the parent company eBay.|
|mid-2010 – September 2014||PayPal moves aggressively into new territory, including micropayments, mobile payments, in-store payments, international expansion, and more tools for small and medium businesses. It debuts new hardware and collaborates with brick and mortar stores for its in-store payments options. It acquires competitor startup Braintree, a payments gateway company.|
|September 2014 onward||It is announced that PayPal will be split off eBay. The split will be completed by the second quarter of 2015.|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Event|
|1998||December||Company launch||Confinity, the company that would later launch the first version of PayPal, is founded by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, and Luke Nosek. The company idea is due to Max Levchin, and Thiel is initially interested only in being an investor, but Levchin convinces Thiel to become CEO of the company.|
|1999||January||Company launch||X.com, the company that would later merge with Confinity to become PayPal, is launched by Elon Musk.|
|1999||July||Product launch||Confinity announces the launch of online payment service PayPal, intended to be usable via a web browser and via a Palm Pilot. At the launch party in July, Nokia Ventures uses PayPal to send $3 million in venture capital investment on-stage.|
|1999||September||Product launch||The product is launched to the public.|
|1999||November||Product launch||Confinity launches a fully functional PayPal website and the staff send emails to their friends offering $1 for signing up.|
|1999||December||Product launch||Financial services company X.com, headed by chairman Elon Musk and CEO Bill Harris, adds online payment to its online account service, and makes it their product focus.|
|1999–2000||December–February||Customer focus shift||Confinity identifies eBay as a promising area to acquire users, because of the high concentration of buyers and sellers and the absence of any standard payment system for them to use.|
|2000||March 1||Competition||EBay announces Billpoint, its in-house payment service, in collaboration with Wells Fargo. This could pose a serious threat to PayPal, because eBay auctions are a major source of user acquisition for it.|
|2000||February (discussions), March 2 (announcement)||Merger||Confinity and X.com merge, and the new entity is officially called X.com. Bill Harris remains CEO of the new entity, while Elon Musk remains Chairman. The top tier at Confinity receive vice-presidential titles at the new company.|
|2000||April||Leadership change||Bill Harris is ousted from the CEO role. Musk takes over the role of CEO and Thiel becomes Chairman. The reason for Harris' departure appears to be his inability to handle the scaling issues posed by PayPal's rapid growth, as well as his continued focus on unproductive approaches such as striking deals with small and unreliable startups.|
|2000||June||Product||PayPal introduces paid accounts for buyers and sellers that require verification and offer guarantees against fraud.|
|2000||October||Leadership change||Elon Musk steps down as CEO and Peter Thiel takes over as interim CEO. Musk continues to stay on the Board of Directors.|
|2000||October||Product||The company closes X.com's financial services in order to focus on the online payment system. The company also decisively switches away from the X.com brand, even though its official name continues to be X.com.|
|2000–2001||Mid-2000 through all of 2001||Product||Max Levchin spearheads efforts to reduce fraud. This would prove to be one of PayPal's decisive sources of advantage, allowing the company to offer an affordable service to customers without hemorrhaging money. Innovations include one of the web's first commercial implementations of CAPTCHA (in the form of the Gausebeck-Levchin test) and a program called "Igor" that identified and froze online activity that appeared fraudulent.|
|2002||February 15||Company IPO||PayPal has its initial public offering. The offering is for 5.4 million shares at a share price of $13 (determined the previous evening by Salomon Smith Barney, their investment bank), for a total of $70 million. The valuation of the company is about $800 million. On the launch date, the price of the shares peaks to $22 and closes at $20.|
|2002||July 8||Company buyout||It is announced that eBay will acquire PayPal using an all-stock acquisition, for $1.5 billion.|
|2002||October||Company buyout||eBay's acquisition of PayPal is formally completed.|
|2008||January||Acquisitions by PayPal||PayPal acquires Fraud Sciences, a privately held Israeli start-up company with expertise in online risk tools, for $169 million, in order to enhance PayPal's proprietary fraud management systems.|
|2008||November||Acquisitions by PayPal||PayPal acquires Bill Me Later, an online payments company offering transactional credit at over 9000 online merchants in the US.|
|2009||August||Product||PayPal launches Student Accounts for teens, allowing parents to set up a student account, transfer money into it, and obtain a debit card for student use. The program provides tools to teach teens how to spend money wisely and take responsibility for their actions.|
|2009||November||Product||PayPal opens its platform, allowing other services to get access to its code and to use its infrastructure in order to enable peer-to-peer online transactions.|
|2010||July 28||Product||PayPal removes the electronic withdrawal option for users in India.|
|2010||October 26||Product||PayPal unveils micropayments for digital goods, with Facebook as its first customer.|
|2011||January 28||Financial/legal||The Reserve Bank of India restricts PayPal payments to merchants to amounts under $100.|
|2011||June 27||Userbase||PayPal reaches 100 million users.|
|2011||September 25||Userbase||PayPal announces that it is processing $315 million in payments per day.|
|2012||January 6||Product||PayPal announces that its first in-store brick and mortar integration will be with Home Depot.|
|2012||March 15||Product||PayPal unveils PayPal Here, its new global payment platform for small and medium-sized businesses, with a swipe-free option for customers, developed in collaboration with card.io.|
|2012||April 4||Product||PayPal rebrands its services for small businesses as PayPal Payments and debuts a number of online, offline, and mobile payment options.|
|2012||May 30||Product||PayPal InStore is released in the UK with barcodes, but no NFC.|
|2012||June 19–20||Product||PayPal launches a new, redesigned, sleeker site.|
|2012||December 13||Product||PayPal launches a "PayPal My Cash Card" that people can buy with cash (at pharmacies and supermarkets that make it available) and then use to make online purchases.|
|2013||September 9||Product||PayPal debuts its new hardware platform, Beacon, a Bluetooth LE enabled device that facilitates hands-free checkins and payments.|
|2013||September 26||Acquisitions by PayPal||PayPal acquires payments gateway company Braintree for US$800 million in cash.|
|2013||November 27||Product||PayPal launches support for prepaid gift cards, just in time for the 2013 holiday shopping season.|
|2014||March 8||Product||PayPal rolls out its new "Mobile First" website globally.|
|2014||May 15||Product||The Google Play Store adds PayPal as a payment option, despite it being a direct competitor to Google Wallet. However, PayPal can only be used to buy apps and digital content, not devices and accessories.|
|2014||June 12||Product, international expansion||PayPal launches PassPort, a service aimed at facilitating international sales by merchants.|
|2014||July 30||Product, international expansion||PayPal renames its "Bill Me Later" service as PayPal Credit and expands PayPal Credit as well as PayPal Working Capital internationally.|
|2014||September 23||Product||PayPal enables Bitcoin transactions for merchants selling digital goods, claiming that it would earn transaction revenue through referral fees. Bitcoin's price rises rapidly in response to the announcement.|
|2014||September 30||Company restructuring||It is announced that PayPal will be split off from eBay. Both companies would get new CEOs as part of the deal, with eBay Marketplaces President Devin Wenig taking over at eBay, and PayPal President Dan Schulman presiding at PayPal.|
|2015||January||Product||Paydiant & FIS launch Cashless Card Access|
|2015||March 2||Acquisitions by PayPal||PayPal acquires Paydiant, a Boston-based startup that makes mobile wallet technology that powers payment apps for businesses such as Subway, Harris Teeter, and Capital One, and more importantly MCX, a merchant exchange network developing a payment app called CurrentC.|
|2015||March 10||Acquisitions by PayPal, product, international expansion||PayPal acquired CyActive, a predictive malware detection startup based in Israel, and uses the acquisition to kickstart a security hub in Israel.|
|2015||June 3||Legal||An as-of-yet unimplemented update to PayPal's terms of service is leaked by GHacks onto the Internet, the terms indicating that customers must agree to accept robocalls from PayPal at numbers not provided to PayPal, which may be procured by PayPal using "alternate means." The leaked terms indicate a customer may accept the terms or close their account. PayPal later announced that the updated terms are intended to "honor customers’ requests to decline to receive auto-dialed or prerecorded calls," causing further confusion and attention from the press.|
|2015||July 1||Acquisitions by PayPal||PayPal agrees to buy Xoom, a San Francisco-based online money transfer technology and services company that went public in 2013, for $25 per share, or $890 million. Xoom's focus is on facilitating international money transfers.|
|2015||November 12||Financial ranking||In June 2016, it was announced that PayPal had joined the Fortune 500 for the first time.|
|2016||January||Userbase||Venmo processes US$1 billion in payments in that month|
|2016||February||Product||PayPal and Braintree launch PayPal Commerce|
|2016||February||Product||PayPal launches redesign of PayPal app|
|2017||February||Product||PayPal launched a Slack bot for peer-to-peer payments with the shortcode/paypal and a user’s Slack handle.|
|2017||July||Product||PayPal announced the Global Sellers Program in partnership with Webinterpret. The program's goal is to offer the online store sellers cross-border solutions to reach more international markets.|
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