PayPal to Expand Crypto Business Beyond the US and Into the UK

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In Brief
  • Crypto peer-to-peer transactions will be available in the UK through the Venmo app.

  • PayPal will introduce these crypto-related features before the end of Q2 2021.

  • The move suggests that PayPal will extend its crypto reach globally in the coming years.

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The Trust Project is an international consortium of news organizations building standards of transparency.

On Feb 11, during its Investor Day, PayPal announced that it would be bringing cryptocurrency to the UK.

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According to New York City (NYC) journalist Carl Quintanilla, the company is planning to enter the UK market in the coming months.

The strategic move will allow PayPal UK-based customers to access crypto-related features through their Venmo wallets. Early indications suggest that should take place before the end of the first half of 2021. 

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Additionally, the payment platform will expand Venmo internationally before 2026 and roll out the app’s credit cards more broadly.

PayPal Going Big on Crypto

Earlier, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said that the company would double down on cryptocurrency, following its initial foray into the space. 

During last week’s Q4 earnings call, he emphasized that the platform’s customers will be able to use crypto to shop at any of the 29 million merchants in its network before Q2 2021. This crypto offering also proposes that buying, selling, and custody features would go to “Venmo and select international markets.”

Schulman added that the mainstream acceptance of bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies mean that PayPal needs to shift its focus. While the company is investing heavily in this business unit, it is currently cooperating with regulators and central banks. However, it’s not yet clear whether PayPal has received regulatory approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Contributing to Overall Market Performance

The UK will be the first market outside of the U.S. where PayPal users can buy and sell crypto.

In November 2020, the payments giant authorized US users to purchase crypto directly through their PayPal accounts. The initial list of supported cryptocurrencies included Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC). This step resulted in trading volumes on the platform surging to $242 million on Jan 11. 

The entire crypto industry is witnessing tremendous growth, and PayPal’s cryptocurrency service is no exception. Over the past few months, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have recorded notable gains. Last week, BTC broke a new all-time high (ATH) just shy of $49,000 in response to Tesla’s massive bitcoin purchase

The UK crypto market is beginning to develop its own model of crypto usage post-Brexit. Will PayPal continue to be the entry point for local retail investors? This likely depends on whether the UK government will remain at the forefront of alternative financing.

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Amy was born in Malmo, Sweden. She became interested in cryptocurrency due to her husband, who was an early investor in bitcoin. Now, Amy writes for a number of crypto outlets, invests in cryptocurrencies, and spends time with her cat Buterin.

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