PayPal launches crypto services to UK

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash will be available for purchase on the platform

U.S. online payments giant announced Monday it would let British customers buy, hold and sell digital currencies, starting this week. This marks the official first international expansion of PayPal‘s crypto capabilities since its US launch in October of 2020.

Customers will have access to choose from four cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash – the same standard four currencies offered PayPal’s fintech platform Venmo. According to the release, customers can start by buying as little as £1 of cryptocurrency through PayPal.

The platform will also give customers access to crypto price tracking and educational content to better understand how their investment works.

In each transaction, there’s a difference between how much you paid for the cryptocurrency, which is the cost basis, and the market value at the time you spend it. However, much like Revolut, PayPal users can’t actually move their crypto holdings outside of the app itself.

“The pandemic has accelerated digital change and innovation across all aspects of our lives— including the digitisation of money and greater consumer adoption of digital financial services,” said Jose Fernandez da Ponte, vice president and general manager, blockchain, crypto and digital currencies at PayPal.

In March, PayPal’s crypto services were expanded in the US when the company launched “Checkout with Crypto” – a service that allowed US customers to utilize their crypto alongside other payment methods in their PayPal wallet. While the service was only for US customers, the fintech giant allowed for international purchases.

According to the release, the company’s cryptocurrency offerings are enabled through a partnership with Paxos Trust Company.

PayPal’s venture capital arm has also made investments in blockchain and cryptocurrency-related start-ups including: TRM Labs, a cryptocurrency risk management software; TaxBit, a provider of crypto tax software to customers and exchanges; and Talos, infrastructure technology for digital asset trading.

The desire to stay ahead of the fintech curve has caused a number of large companies to dabble in the crypto space – as unregulated as it may currently seem. PayPal’s rival rival Square and the trading app Robinhood, both introduced cryptocurrency buying and selling in 2018. In recent years, traditional financial firms like J.P. Morgan and Fidelity Investments have also launched crypto initiatives in the form of JPM Coin (a blockchain payments platform) and Fidelity Digital Assets (a custody business). 

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