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PayPal Expands Its Cryptocurrency Strategy Outside the U.S. With a Thrust Into the U.K.

As part of its strategy to be a leader in digital currencies, PayPal Holdings Inc. on Monday announced it will enable users in the United Kingdom to buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrency through their PayPal wallets. The move marks the first expansion of PayPal support for cryptocurrency outside the United States. PayPal in October launched buy, hold, and sell capabilities for cryptocurrency for its U.S. users.

Users in the U.K. can buy cryptocurrency through their PayPal wallet by choosing a pre-determined purchase amount or entering an amount to be purchased. Cryptocurrency purchases will be funded using the customer’s bank account or debit card. When a PayPal customer sells her cryptocurrency, funds from the sale are deposited in her wallet. PayPal customers pay applicable transaction fees and currency-conversion fees for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. PayPal, which could not be reached for comment, did not disclose the transaction fees. 

In recent months, PayPal has been striving to make cryptocurrency a mainstream payment option with its effort to allow users to spend Bitcoin and other crypto with PayPal-accepting merchants. In March, PayPal announced that customers in the U.S. can use cryptocurrency to make purchases at businesses around the world. In April, the company introduced crypto services on its mobile payment service Venmo in the U.S.

U.K. crypto purchases in the PayPal wallet are funded from a bank account or debit card.

To shield U.S. merchants from cryptocurrency’s volatility, PayPal settles crypto transactions in U.S. dollars at its standard conversion rates.

“The pandemic has accelerated digital change and innovation across all aspects of our lives—including the digitization of money and greater consumer adoption of digital financial services,” Jose Fernandez da Ponte, vice president and general manager for blockchain, crypto, and digital currencies at PayPal, says in a prepared statement. “We are committed to continue working closely with regulators in the U.K., and around the world, to offer our support—and meaningfully contribute to shaping the role digital currencies will play in the future of global finance and commerce.”

As part of its crypto services in the U.K., PayPal will provide customers educational content to help them understand how cryptocurrency works, as well as the volatility, risks, and opportunities related to purchasing cryptocurrency. 

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