PayPal has announced that its UK customers will be able to use their accounts to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies. The new level of service for UK dwellers will begin to roll out this week, and it is the first such expansion for PayPal after debuting the same level of service in the US last October.
The move by PayPal comes as the impact of the pandemic has "accelerated digital change and innovation," according to Jose Fernandez da Ponte, PayPal's VP of Blockchain, Crypto and Digital Currencies. Da Ponte reckons that PayPal's "global reach, digital payments expertise, and knowledge of consumer and businesses, combined with rigorous security and compliance controls," make it a compelling choice for UK customers.
Later this week, eligible PayPal UK customers will find they have access to a new crypto tab on the web or in the PayPal mobile app. From there, they will be able to buy as little as £1 of cryptocurrency. Four cryptocurrencies are supported; Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. The crypto tab will contain various related helpful info like current pricing and trends for the aforementioned currencies.
Funding your PayPal account is easy, and you can link a bank account or debit card for low-friction funding. I note that there is no mention of credit card funding for crypto-trading purposes – this might be due to PayPal's claim of enabling access to this market in a "responsible way". On the topic of responsibility, PayPal says it is providing educational content to help users "understand the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the volatility, risks, and opportunities".
Those with eBay buying and selling experience will probably be familiar with PayPal and fees (and poor exchange rates). In today's press release, the firm admits there are going to be transaction fees and currency conversion fees (margin) for buying and selling cryptocurrencies too. You don't have to pay fees for simply holding cryptocurrency in your account, though. In the US, PayPal introduced 'Checkout with Crypto' in March this year – but it doesn't look like this service is ready for the UK as yet.
Transaction fees outlined. But how good will PayPal's crypto exchange rates be?
Financial news site CNBC notes that PayPal UK is using Paxos, a New York-regulated digital currency company, to enable crypto buying and selling (just like it does in the US). Moreover, just like when using Revolut UK, it isn't possible to move your crypto out of the PayPal wallet without converting it to regular currency.
BTC hits $50,000 again
As I write the above, many BTC devotees are in rapture as BTC breaks past the US$50,000 again. A couple of hours ago it reached up to $50,400, but has retreated, to $50,050 at the time of writing. I expect a bit of push and pull as the battle for $50,000 plays out, but don't ask me if this is merely another resistance point to be overwhelmed by the bulls or whether the bears will bring it all crashing back down to earth.
BTC appears to have had a very good run from mid-June, when 1BTC could be had for under $30,000. A year ago it was languishing; with holders hoping it wouldn't fall beneath $10,000.