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The online payments giant will allow users to buy, sell and hold bitcoin, bitcoin cash, Ethereum (ether) and litecoin, as well as track prices and access educational content about the crypto space.
The announcement has helped boost an already-resurgent cryptocurrency market, with bitcoin rising above $50,000 on Monday to hit a three-month price high.
PayPal first opened up crypto services to US customers earlier this year and plans to continue rolling it out to more of its 403 million international customers this year.
“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,” said Jose Fernandez da Ponte, vice president and general manager for blockchain, crypto and digital currencies at PayPal.
PayPal’s announcement was welcomed by industry figures, as the influx of millions of new retail investors could help push the price of bitcoin up even further.
“Bitcoin has broken out above $50,000 for the first time since May this year as PayPal announces crypto buying and selling in the UK,” said Simon Peters, a cryptocurrency market analyst at the online trading platform eToro.
“PayPal has trailed its launch of crypto buying and selling in the UK for some time but has today announced its intention to allow UK-based users to buy and sell crypto tokens from this week, but it is unclear as of yet whether the firm will allow users to make payments in said cryptos.”
Despite the recent gains, bitcoin remains a long way off the all-time high of $64,0000 that it experienced in April 2021.
When PayPal first announced plans to introduce crypto services last year, the price of bitcoin rose to a yearly high above $12,000, having been described as “a major step forward towards the mass adoption of digital currencies” by Nigel Green, CEO of financial advisory firm deVere Group.
It helped spark the record-breaking price rally that has since pushed the combined crypto market cap above $2 trillion, ranking it above the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet (Google) in terms of overall value.