PayPal has become the latest traditional online payments platform to have embraced cryptocurrencies. The company, on Wednesday, announced a new service that will enable customers to buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other digital currencies in its online wallets. The service, which has just started rolling out, will be available on its website as well as its mobile apps and, can be used as a funding source for purchases at its 26 million merchants worldwide starting early next year.

In a post expressing his support for digital currencies, the president and CEO of PayPal, Dan Schulman, said: “The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system … We are 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”.

The company will initially only support a few leading cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin, with the full service expected to be rolled out to PayPal account-holders in the US “in the coming weeks”. The company plans to expand the features to Venmo and select international markets in the first half of 2021.

As part of its plan, PayPal says it will provide account-holders with “educational content to help them understand the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the risks and opportunities related to investing in cryptocurrency, and information on blockchain technology”. The company is waiving off service fees when buying or selling cryptocurrency through December 31, 2020, and says it won’t charge any fees for holding cryptocurrency in a PayPal account.

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