In 1999, Elon Musk founded a company called, which he originally conceived as a “one-stop shop” for financial services. However, he soon became more interested in another startup called Confinity, founded in 1998 by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin and Luke Nosek. Confinity had developed a clever system for enabling person-to-person email payments, which it called PayPal.

It was a concept that had arrived at precisely the right time. Many internet visionaries could see that the possibilities of online commerce were huge, but the missing link was a simple way to enable secure payments—precisely what PayPal provided. and Confinity soon merged, and Musk reorganized the new firm to focus on PayPal, which became the name of the company in 2001.

#PayPal was one of the first #DataKraken, which recorded, analyzed und leveraged the behavioral #UserData systematically and Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman are probably the most prominent members of the so called #PayPalMafia (see chart from: ).

PayPal has spawned three billionaires, many, many millionaires, and generation-defining companies. Understanding of „old boys networks“ and the „cui bono-principle“ (who profits?) is always a good basis for understanding economic developments.

Complementary readings:

▶︎ Business Insider article published on September 20, 2014 under the headline „Meet The PayPal Mafia, The Richest Group Of Men In Silicon Valley“:

▶︎ WIRED article published on December 27, 2017 under the headline „The Libertarian Logic of Peter Thiel“:

▶︎ Guardian article published on July 21, 2016 under the headline „Donald Trump, Peter Thiel and the death of democracy“:

▶︎  „Your digital identity has three layers, and you can only protect one of them“:

▶︎ „Monologue of the Facebook algorithm: how Facebook turns users data into its profit“:

▶︎ Sneaky Business Models of Social Media Platforms:

▶︎ Why we need a „Techlash“?:

▶︎ „George Orwell’s 1984 was a warning and not an instruction manual“ published on January 13, 2020, in German: (English translation: )

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