Online payments giant PayPal has decided to cosy up to cryptocurrency users and providers. To get its operation up and running PayPal had to obtain a conditional ‘Bitlicense’ from the New York State Department of Financial Services – and is the first company ever to do so. The cryptocurrency services PayPal will offer include; the storage of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash “directly within the PayPal digital wallet,” and the purchasing of goods and services from any of the 26 million sellers which accept PayPal.

PayPal’s crypto integration will make it one of the largest US companies to provide these virtual currencies, notes Reuters. Making these changes now is expected to accelerate the use of virtual coins for purchasing goods and services and it helps PayPal prepare the ground for digital currencies that central banks and other big companies may develop. Venmo, PayPal’s mobile peer-to-peer payment service, will make use of the new cryptocurrency back end sometime in H1 2021.

Cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile, and a technology author talking to the BBC about this news likened cryptocurrency investors to those who gamble on ‘penny stocks’. David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain, said he didn’t understand the motive behind PayPal’s cryptocurrency trading and spending enablement plans. “I’m at a loss as to who the market is for PayPal as a crypto-exchange,” Gerard commented. In essence Gerard was warning ordinary folk not to invest or save large amounts of cash in cryptocurrencies.

The cryptocurrency market has responded positively to this news. The price of one BTC spiked as much as 8 per cent immediately after PayPal’s announcement, for example. At the time of writing the price has dropped back a little to 1BTC = GBP£9,785 or USD$12,852.

Let us hope surging cryptocurrencies don’t impact the supplies of any shiny new GPUs.

PayPal Cryptocurrency buying options will be rolling out in the US over the next few weeks but using Crypto to buy goods and services via PayPal won’t go live until “early 2021”. I don’t have any precise info on the timetable for these PayPal services going live outside of the US, only that PayPal plans to expand the service geographically in H1 2021.