PayPal to allow its UK users to trade cryptocurrencies

PayPal will allow users in the UK to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies through the payment platform for the first time

PayPal Holdings Inc announced it will give its British users an opportunity to trade Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies starting this week.

Customers will be able to trade with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. By accessing their PayPal account via the website or the mobile app, users can view real-time crypto prices and access educational content.

It is the first expansion of the company’s cryptocurrency offering outside the United States.

With more than 403 million globally active accounts, the San Jose-based company became one of the largest mainstream financial companies to offer consumers access to cryptocurrencies.

Jose Fernandez da Ponte – vice president and general manager for blockchain, crypto and digital currencies at PayPal – said the company was “committed to continue working closely with regulators in the UK, and around the world, to offer its support and meaningfully contribute to shaping the role digital currencies will play in the future of global finance and commerce”.

Pandemic increasing digitisation of money

He added the pandemic accelerated digital change and innovation across all aspects of people’s lives, including the digitisation of money and greater consumer adoption of digital financial services.

Da Ponte then noted the PayPal had strong ambitions to continue to expand the product range in the US, the United Kingdom and other markets.

“We are very deliberate about starting with initial functionality, and then we’ll see where the market is going to take us,” he added.

“Different markets have different appetites for products.”

Earlier this year, PayPal enabled its American consumers to use crypto in order to pay millions of its online merchants globally. The firm also expanded crypto buying and selling to Venmo, its mobile wallet.

Last July, PayPal partnered with Paxos Crypto Brokerage for its crypto payments services, and in March 2021 the company bought Israeli start-up ‘Curv’ to help users secure crypto holdings.

PayPal has also invested in crypto risk management software TRM Labs, tax software TaxBit and trading infrastructure Talos.

Meanwhile, Laith Khalaf – head of investment analysis at the financial firm AJ Bell – said there were signs investors were “leapfrogging traditional forms of savings and diving in at the deep end by investing in crypto”, and that the government was worried regarding the possibility of consumer harm posed by volatile pricing.

“An alarming statistic is that 14% of UK crypto buyers funded their purchases using debt, according to figures released by the FCA in June,” he said.

“While many are no doubt using crypto as a bit of harmless fun with small amounts of money they can afford to lose, some consumers are at risk of getting sucked in and spat out by the crypto craze.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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