PayPal developed after Internet financial services company X.com acquired Confinity in March 2000. Confinity was founded in December 1998 by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek, and Ken Howery and in 1999 launched a money transfer service called PayPal. The PayPal money-transfer system was only months old at the time X.com acquired Confinity, but X.com founder Elon Musk was optimistic about its future success. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PayPal
2000: they created a simple refer-a-friend campaign – When you refer someone, you would get $20 and the new person signing up would get $20. With this, PayPal started growing exponentially. The growth rate at one point reached 10% daily! They skyrocketed from 1 million users in March 2000 to 5 million users by September 2000
2000: Max Levchin spearheads efforts to reduce fraud. This would prove to be one of PayPal's decisive sources of advantage, as the costs of fraud had constrained its ability to offer affordable services.
2002: IPO, then acquired by eBay same year
one little annoyance I face is wanting to combine (a) repeating payments with (b) variable quantity. You can have 1 or the other there, but not both.
Apr'2007: alternatives http://www.bigoakinc.com/limb/paypal-backup.php
Aug'2013: Sarah Lacy on David Marcus' hope to revitalize PayPal. It took two years after SquareUp’s launch for PayPal to get a competing product on the market. A year ago, we asked Elon Musk why he invested in challenger StripeCom and he noted that PayPal’s product roadmap is actually less ambitious than the one he sketched out in 2000.
Jun'2014: DavidMarcus announced he was leaving his role as PayPal President; Marcus joined PayPal in August 2011 after its acquisition of Zong, of which he was the founder and CEO. David Marcus succeeded Scott Thompson as president, who left the role to join Yahoo. Marcus is moving to FaceBook.