PayPal users in the UK will be allowed to trade cryptocurrency this week

PayPal users in the United Kingdom will be able to buy, sell and hold Bitcoin on the platform from this week, the company has announced.

Users will also be able to trade Ether, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash on PayPal’s website and mobile app.

With over 400 million active users worldwide, PayPal is one of the largest mainstream financial companies to give its customers access to cryptocurrencies.

The company claimed its entry into the UK crypto market had the potential to take the digital tokens mainstream, although it refused to say when it would launch the product in other countries.

“We are committed to continue working closely with regulators in the UK, 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,” PayPal vice president and general manager for blockchain, crypto and digital currencies Jose Fernandez da Ponte said in a statement.

PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel (left) and Elon Musk (right) have become major investors in cryptocurrency, although neither now has any connection to PayPalPAUL SAKUMA/AP

The move brings PayPal into competition with UK fintech company Revolut – which added the ability to trade crypto in 2017 and now supports over 30 tokens – as well as established cryptocurrency exchanges.

PayPal previously launched the ability for American customers to buy and sell cryptocurrency in October 2020.

Europeans may have to wait

A PayPal spokesperson told Euronews Next that while there was no confirmed EU launch date for its crypto trading product, “PayPal plans to gradually roll out this functionality to other global markets in the coming years”.

In March this year, the company announced a “Checkout with Crypto” function that enables US users to convert their crypto holdings to cash without transaction fees, before using it to complete a transaction.

The spokesperson also confirmed that “Checkout with Crypto” would not be available in the UK, at least initially.

“We’re just launching our crypto buy, hold and sell service in the UK. We will learn and observe how our UK customers use our buy, hold and sell crypto offering before we start to roll out more features and functionality,” they said.