London: PayPal launches its cryptocurrency service in the UK. The U.S. online payments giant said on Monday that it would let British customers to buy, hold and sell digital currencies starting this week.
It marks the first international expansion of PayPal's crypto product, which was first launched in the US in October last year.
" It has been doing really well in the U.S," José Fernández da Ponte, general manager of cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency company PayPal, told. " We expect it’s going to do well in the U.K."
PayPal's crypto feature allows customers to buy or sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum or Litecoin for as little as £ 1. Users can also track cryptocurrency prices in real time and find educational content on the market.
Like the US version of the product, PayPal is relying on Paxos, a New York regulated digital currency company, to enable the buying and selling of digital currencies in the UK, and PayPal said it has partnered with British regulators. relevant to launch the service.
A spokesperson for the Financial Conduct Authority, Britain's financial services watchdog, was not immediately available to comment on the announcement.
PayPal's encryption service is similar to that offered by UK-based fintech company Revolut. As with Revolut, PayPal users cannot transfer their cryptocurrency holdings outside of the app. Although, Revolut recently started testing a feature that allows users to withdraw bitcoins from their personal wallets.
PayPal says its foray into cryptocurrencies is about making it easier for people to participate in the market. "Tokens and coins have been around for a while, but you had to be a relatively advanced user to be able to access that," Da Ponte said. "Having that on a platform like ours is a very good entry point."
The payment processor is one of the many large financial companies that are launching into the mostly unregulated world of cryptocurrencies. Despite ongoing concerns about price volatility, consumer protection, and potential money laundering in the industry, major companies such as Mastercard, Tesla, and Facebook have been warming to crypto lately.
Bitcoin, the world's largest digital currency, hit a record high of nearly $ 65,000 in April before falling below $ 30,000 in July as Chinese regulators extended their crackdown on the market. It has since recovered at a price of $ 48,400.
While PayPal has started trading cryptocurrencies, the company is betting that digital currencies will play a bigger role in e-commerce in the long run. Earlier this year, PayPal began allowing US consumers to use cryptocurrencies to pay with millions of online merchants around the world. The company has also expanded the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies to Venmo, its popular mobile wallet.
"We certainly have the ambition to continue expanding the product range in the US, UK and other markets," da Ponte said.
"We are very deliberate about starting the initial work, and then we will see where the market will take us. Different markets have different appetites for products."
The launch of PayPal's encryption service in the UK also comes as regulators are increasingly concerned about the rise of cryptocurrencies. In June, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) banned the British branch of Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, citing failure to comply with money laundering requirements.
"It stands to reason that as consumer interest increases and scale increases, regulators are paying more attention to this space," Da Ponte said, adding that PayPal has built "strong regulatory relationships."
Meanwhile, central banks are exploring the possibility of issuing their own digital currencies, as the use of cash in several developed countries is rapidly declining. In April, the British Treasury and the Bank of England said they would evaluate the possible launch of a digital version of the British pound, dubbed "Britcoin" by the U.K. press.
Da Ponte said that central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, were a "fantastic prospect" but that it would take some policy makers to solve the main issues involved.
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