PayPal launches cryptocurrency services for UK customers
Online payments giant PayPal has announced its UK customers will be able to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies using its platform.
In an update being rolled out this week customers will be able to acquire a selection of four crypto currencies – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash – using their Paypal accounts. Users will also be able to access real-time crypto prices and educational content about cryptocurrencies.
Customers will be able to fund crypto purchases using their bank account or debit card and can buy digital currencies for as little as £1.
“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.
Fernandez da Ponte said that the company’s “global reach, digital payments expertise, and knowledge of consumer and businesses,” makes PayPal ideally placed “to help people in the UK to explore cryptocurrency.”
Today’s announcement marks the first time that PayPal, which has more than 400 worldwide million users, has offered digital currencies to customers outside the US.
In October 2020, the company rolled out crypto sales to its US customers allowing payments to be made to businesses using crypto on the platform.
Responding to today’s news Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at AJ Bell, called the prospect of a crypto transactional facility for UK customers “little more than a sales gimmick.”
“There’s still the issue of consumer and business demand to transact in crypto,” said Khalaf. “If crypto is being exchanged at both ends to facilitate a transaction, it’s really just a digital fig leaf covering up a payment that could have been made without it.”
While Khalaf was skeptical about the use value of allowing crypto payments via PayPal he noted that UK investors are increasingly turning to crypto as a store of value over alternative investment options.
Data from AJ Bell found that six in ten UK crypto holders do not have an ISA while half do not have a pension.
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