PayPal is now accepting Bitcoin in the UK.
The US online payments giant will let British consumers buy, hold, and sell digital currencies starting this week.
A crypto product launched by PayPal in October last year, it has now gone global.
Bitcoin is doing well in the US, according to PayPal’s general manager for blockchain, crypto and digital currencies. “We think it’ll go well in the UK.”
Payments in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, and Litecoin start at £1. Users can also access instructional content and track bitcoin values in real-time.
PayPal’s UK offering uses Paxos, a New York-based digital currency firm, to facilitate crypto buying and selling. PayPal says it has contacted UK officials to begin the service.
The Financial Conduct Authority, Britain’s financial services regulator, did not respond to requests for comment.
PayPal’s crypto service is identical to Revolut’s in the UK. Payments via PayPal are not transferable outside the app, like Revolut. Revolut is currently testing a feature that allows customers to withdraw bitcoin to their wallets.
PayPal claims its entry into crypto will help individuals participate in the market. It has been around for a while, but you had to be a sophisticated user to get it,” da Ponte added. “Having that on our platform offers a great access point.”
One of several prominent corporations entering the highly unregulated area of cryptocurrencies is PayPal. Mastercard, Tesla, and Facebook have all recently expressed interest in crypto despite persistent price volatility and consumer protection concerns.
Cryptocurrency Bitcoin achieved a record high of nearly $65,000 in April before falling below $30,000 in July as Chinese regulators tightened market controls. It has since risen to almost $50,000.
While PayPal began with crypto trading, it believes digital currencies will eventually play a larger role in e-commerce. PayPal began accepting bitcoin payments from US customers earlier this year. Venmo, the popular mobile wallet, now accepts bitcoin purchases.
“We want to keep expanding our product selection in the US, UK, and other markets,” da Ponte says.
“We’ve decided to start with basic capabilities and then see where the market takes us. “Markets have diverse product appetites.”
PayPal’s crypto business comes as regulators become increasingly suspicious of digital currency. The FCA suspended Binance’s British company in June for failing to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.
“It makes reasonable that authorities are paying more attention to this field as consumer interest and volume grow,” da Ponte said, adding that PayPal has “strong regulatory relations.”
Meanwhile, as cash use declines in many affluent countries, central banks considering issuing their digital currencies. The UK Treasury and Bank of England said in April that they will consider the launch of a digital pound, dubbed “Bitcoin” by the UK press.
But policymakers would need time to smooth out the kinks of central bank digital currencies.