In comparison to other online payment options like paypal this is quite a bad performance. What is the strategy to stay competetive with other payment processors?
I understand your concern. However, you are comparing apples and oranges.
Direct bitcoin transactions are more analogous to electronic check or wire transfers between accounts existing in different banks than to a PayPal transaction. Even in our current electronic age, these can often take days to process. This is because there are so many banks and other financial institutions that it is impossible for any single bank to have built up a solid trust with all of the other financial institutions that exist.
As you say, though, you can actually spend money instantly using a service like PayPal, or by using a credit/debit card. This can be done because the banking system has set up a relatively small number of services that all institutions can
know and trust (Visa/Mastercard/PayPal, etc.). Essentially, businesses pick one or more of these services to support (i.e. they state which credit cards they accept), and will do business instantly with you as long as you have an account with one of these services and that service says that you have enough money/credit to pay for whatever it is that you are buying.
These same kinds of services are starting to pop up for bitcoin as well. One such service is ClearCoin
. Over time, a similar web of trust will be built up between businesses and these kinds of services, and you will be able to transact business instantly with bitcoins.