PayPal launches UK crypto service
PayPal is launching a new service that will enable UK users to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency — the first international expansion of the service outside the US.
The new offering, which starts rolling out this week, will give users a choice of four cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Real-time crypto prices and content to learn about the opportunities and risks involved will also be available.
PayPal says there will be no fees to hold cryptocurrency in a PayPal account but transaction fees and currency conversion fees for buying and selling applicable cryptocurrencies will apply.
In the UK, users will be able to buy as little as £1 of cryptocurrency, but will have limits on how much they can buy.
A PayPal spokesperson told Fintech Futures that although the UK offering is very similar to the US, “every market is different, so we have tailored the transaction amount limits for our UK customers”. The maximum amount for any single crypto purchase is £15,000 and the maximum amount for purchases over a 12-month period is £35,000.
In designing the service, the spokesperson says: “We’ve focused on education, building in support throughout the experience, so that our customers can make informed choices about whether cryptocurrencies are the right option for them.”
PayPal says it has been exploring the potential of digital currencies through partnerships with licensed and regulated cryptocurrency platforms and with central banks around the world. The spokesperson adds that it supports the Bank of England and HM Treasury’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Taskforce and believes that adoption of CBDCs will offer a marketplace of new financial services and products “designed to create broader inclusion”.
“We welcome the UK’s international leadership on fintech and support the recommendation in the recent Kalifa Review of UK Fintech that the UK should continue to participate in global forums and lead on issues such as CBDCs, digital currencies and cryptocurrency regulation,” the spokesperson says.
Announcing the new UK crypto service, Jose Fernandez da Ponte, who leads the firm’s blockchain, crypto and digital currencies unit, says 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.
In March, the company announced Checkout with Crypto — enabling US customers to use their cryptocurrency alongside other payment methods. In April, the company introduced crypto services on its US mobile payment service Venmo.