Paypal Launches Cryptocurrency Services in the UK and Deloitte Publishes 2021 Global Blockchain Survey
- Paypal has made certain cryptocurrencies available to its users in the UK
- This is Paypal’s first international expansion in the crypto space
- It could be a significant catalyst in achieving mainstream cryptocurrency adoption
- Deloitte’s 2021 Global Blockchain Survey has revealed growing enthusiasm for blockchain technology among senior executives
Paypal has expanded its cryptocurrency offering to the UK in what could be a major step towards widespread crypto adoption. This is the first time Paypal will give users outside the US the opportunity to deal in cryptocurrencies. Paypal’s strong brand name and proven track record in digital finance may entice more retail investors in the UK to consider owning crypto assets.
The fintech pioneer will give its second largest user base the option to buy, sell and hold Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Users will be able to carry out individual transactions worth up to £15,000 and trade up to £35,000 a year. Similar restrictions were imposed when Paypal introduced these features in the US and the annual cap was eventually lifted in July this year.
Educational resources will also be made available. According to Paypal, this will help users “understand the cryptocurrency ecosystem, the volatility, risks, and opportunities related to purchasing cryptocurrency.” A growing, and increasingly informed, community entering the cryptocurrency space seems like a positive development for everyone involved in the industry.
It seems likely that Paypal’s crypto offering will extend to other territories in the near future. As one of the largest financial services companies in the world, Paypal has over 400m active users in more than 200 markets. It thus has the potential to bring millions more into the fold and contribute to cementing the place of cryptocurrencies in the mainstream.
If the company emulates its US rollout, the option to spend cryptocurrencies in Paypal’s merchant network could also soon come to the UK. Paypal has a worldwide network of 29 million merchants, who could benefit from this functionality. A widespread and successful effort in this direction would finally provide an answer to one of the most common questions crypto enthusiasts get asked: “But where can I actually spend cryptocurrencies?”
Catching the Wave
Paypal is not a first mover in the UK’s cryptocurrency space. Among others, it follows Revolut, the UK’s most valuable start-up, which currently offers access to over 50 cryptocurrencies. Their entry in the sector seems to have been a resounding success as demand for their crypto offering increased revenues by 34% last year and accounted for 15-20% of their overall revenues.
The Vice President and General Manager of Blockchain, Crypto and Digital Currencies at Paypal, Jose Fernandez da Ponte, justified the timing of this expansion as a result of the increased “digitisation of money and greater consumer adoption of digital financial services”.
It follows the introduction of cryptocurrencies to Paypal’s US customer base, which also seems to have been a success. The company told TechCrunch that they were surprised at the level of engagement their entry into crypto had generated. Apart from considerable demand, customers who started dealing in crypto tended to log in to their services twice as often as they previously did.
Paypal also introduced cryptocurrencies to Venmo this year. As Venmo appeals to a younger crowd, this could become an equally important development in the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies. Younger people tend to have fewer apprehensions about the digital sphere and fewer preconceptions regarding how the banking industry “should” operate so there could be a faster uptake. Naturally, there are also risks associated, as younger users may be less aware of, or perhaps less worried about, the risks involved in investing in general.
Surfing the Trend
Paypal’s move comes on the heels of Deloitte’s recently published Global Blockchain Survey. In their survey of 1,280 senior executives across 10 locations, almost 80% of respondents said they believed digital assets would be very or somewhat important to their industries. This result could signal a coming wave of adoption by companies waking up to the potential of blockchain technology.
More than 80% of those surveyed by Deloitte also agreed that blockchain was scalable and that it has already reached mainstream adoption. This bold sentiment was only outdone by 76% of respondents strongly or somewhat believing that digital assets could replace fiat currencies in the next 5 to ten years. It is astounding to see that industry leaders are now seriously considering a scenario in which blockchain could transform global monetary policy.
In addition to a growing positive sentiment, the number of companies accepting payments in cryptocurrencies is increasing. Just this week, the online publisher Substack announced that it would start accepting Bitcoin. This follows large companies such as Axa Insurance, Microsoft, Starbucks, Expedia, Lush, Sotheby's and Rakuten, that are accepting certain cryptocurrencies for an increasing number of their products and services.
These developments seem very encouraging for those impatient to see cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology take their place in the mainstream.
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