PayPal Holdings Inc joined the cryptocurrency market, allowing customers to buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other virtual coins using the company’s online wallets.
PayPal customers will also be able to use cryptocurrencies to shop at the 26 million merchants on its network starting in early 2021, the company said in a statement.
PayPal hopes the service will encourage global use of virtual coins and prepare its network for new digital currencies that may be developed by central banks and corporations, President and Chief Executive Dan Schulman said in an interview.“We are working with central banks and thinking of all forms of digital currencies and how PayPal can play a role,” he said.
U.S. account holders will be able to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies in their PayPal wallets over the coming weeks, the company said. It plans to expand to Venmo and some countries in the first half of 2021.
Other mainstream fintech companies allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, but PayPal’s launch is noteworthy given its vast reach. PayPal has 346 million active accounts around the world and processed $222 billion in payments in the second quarter of this year alone.
Cryptocurrency payments on PayPal will be settled using fiat currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, meaning merchants will not receive payments in virtual coins, the company said.
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