PayPal To Allow Consumers Shop With Cryptocurrency

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PayPal Holdings Inc. plans to allow customers to buy cryptocurrency through their accounts and use cryptocurrency for merchant payments.

The company announced Wednesday that it is introducing a way for customers to buy, hold, and sell certain cryptocurrencies within the PayPal PYPL, 4.20% wallet. This will roll out over the coming weeks in the U.S.

Initially, PayPal users will be able to buy Bitcoin BTCUSD, 7.14%, Ethereum ETHUSD, 5.20%, Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, 7.51%, and Litecoin LTCUSD, 10.83%. PayPal intends to bring this function to its Venmo platform and to certain international markets in the first half of next year.

Shares are up nearly 5% in morning trading Wednesday, while exchange-traded funds that track the price of cryptocurrencies are up sharply as well.

“Consumers will be able to instantly convert their selected cryptocurrency balance to fiat currency, with certainty of value and no incremental fees,” the company said in a release. PayPal argued that this move will “significantly increase cryptocurrency’s utility.”

PayPal also disclosed in its release that it has obtained a conditional Bitlicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services. The Bitlicense helps “encourage, promote, and assist interested institutions to have a well-regulated way to access the New York virtual currency marketplace,” NYDFS superintendent Linda Lacewell said in PayPal’s release.

PayPal Chief Executive Dan Schulman said in the release that PayPal is “eager to work with central banks and regulators around the world to offer our support, and to meaningfully contribute to shaping the role that digital currencies will play in the future of global finance and commerce.”