August 24, 2021: -PayPal is about to launch its cryptocurrency service in the U.K.
On Monday, the U.S. online payments giant said it would let British customers buy, hold and sell digital currencies, beginning this week.
It marks the first international expansion of the crypto product of PayPal, which first launched in the U.S. in October last year.
“It has been doing well in the U.S.,” Jose Fernandez da Ponte, general manager of PayPal for blockchain, crypto, and digital currencies, told CNBC. “We expect it’s going to do good in the U.K.”
The crypto feature of PayPal lets customers buy or sell bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, or litecoin for just £1. Users will be able to track crypto prices in real-time and find educational content on the market.
Like the U.S. version of the product, PayPal relies on Paxos, a New York-regulated digital currency company, enabling crypto buying and selling in the U.K. PayPal said it is engaging with relevant U.K. regulators for the service launch.
PayPal’s crypto service is like the one from U.K. fintech firm Revolut. In Revolut’s case, PayPal users can’t move their crypto holdings outside the app. Although Revolut also began testing a feature that enables users to withdraw bitcoin to their wallets.
PayPal says its foray into crypto is about making it easier for people to participate in the market. “The tokens and coins have been around for a while, but you had to be a relatively sophisticated user to access that,” da Ponte said. “Having that on a platform like ours makes a perfect entry point.”
The world’s most significant digital currency, Bitcoin, hit a record high of nearly $65,000 in April before tumbling below $30,000 in July as Chinese regulators extended a crackdown on the market. It has since recovered to a price of $48,400.
While PayPal started with crypto trading, the company is betting digital currencies will take a more significant role in e-commerce in the long run. Earlier this year, PayPal began letting U.S. consumers use crypto to pay millions of online merchants globally. The firm also expanded crypto buying and selling to Venmo, its popular mobile wallet.
“We have ambitions to continue to expand the product range in the U.S., the U.K., and other markets,” da Ponte said.
“We are very deliberate about starting with initial functionality, and then we’ll see where the market is going to take us. Different markets have a different appetite for products.”
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