In major news for that mate of yours who’s still telling you to invest in Bitcoin, PayPal announced today that it would allow customers to buy, sell and shop using cryptocurrency.

PayPal, which has more than 346 million global users on its network, says that starting next week, US account holders will be able to hold cryptocurrency wallets in the PayPal app, and should be allowed to start making transactions using cryptocurrency from early next year.

The company has partnered with fintech startup up Paxos on the move, and was recently granted the first-ever ‘conditional BitLicense’ by the New York Department of Financial Services.

By opening up its network to digital currency, PayPal is set to become one the largest US companies to facilitate the use of virtual coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum in everyday business. PayPal is one of the world’s largest online payment platforms, with more than 26 million merchants accepting payments through the network.

The company says it made the move in an attempt to encourage more people to start using cryptocurrency, and hopes that it will help payment methods like Bitcoin become more viable to both individuals and companies as the shift to online transactions continues.

PayPal, which is based in San Jose, California, is also preparing its network for the future development of new, more widely used cryptocurrencies.

President and CEO Dan Schulman told Reuters:

We are working with central banks and thinking of all forms of digital currencies and how PayPal can play a role

Although it is currently only set to be available to US PayPal account holders, the company says it is planning to expand the service to cover its app, Venmo, and hopes to roll out cryptocurrency-backing in other countries later in 2021. Following the announcement, Bitcoin saw a 4% gain, rising in value to $12,381.

PayPal has been flirting with cryptocurrency for a while now, and for a time threw its weight behind Libra – Facebook’s attempt to launch its own digital wallet – before pulling out after just four months.

And while it’s been a slow process, the company’s latest announcement is clearly a big step forward for crypto advocates. As the CEO of one cryptocurrency wealth investment firm put it, ‘We have crossed the rubicon, people.’