PayPal announced that it has been granted a conditional Bitlicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services… The license will enable PayPal to launch a new service that will enable its customers to:
Buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrency (initially Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin) directly within the PayPal digital wallet. Use the cryptocurrencies as a funding source for purchases at its 26 million merchants.
PayPal said there would be no service fees for buying or selling cryptocurrency through December 31, 2020, and no fees for holding cryptocurrency in a PayPal account.
[PayPal:] “Consumers will be able to instantly convert their selected cryptocurrency balance to fiat currency, with certainty of value and no incremental fees. PayPal merchants will have no additional integrations or fees, as all transactions will be settled with fiat currency at their current PayPal rates.”
[Why PayPal’s service might be a big hit…:]
– 60% of smartphone owners have the PayPal app installed on their smartphone.
– 14% of PayPal users already own some form of cryptocurrency (in contrast to 8% of non-PayPal users). Of those PayPal users, 53% of them used Bitcoin to buy products or services in the past year, and two-thirds plan to in the next year or two.
– Another 15% of PayPal users intend to purchase or invest in cryptocurrency in the next 12 months—and half of them expect to make retail purchases with Bitcoin in the next year or two.
– $31.2 billion worth of retail products and services were purchased in the past year using cryptocurrencies by all Americans. PayPal users accounted for 74%—$23.1 billion—of that amount.
– PayPal’s new service eliminates two hurdles regarding the use of cryptocurrencies for retail purchases: 1) Getting cryptocurrency into a form that’s usable for retail purchases, and 2) Merchant acceptance of cryptocurrency as a form of payment.
As a result, retail payments made with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin by PayPal users could easily double and reach $50 billion by the end of 2021.
PayPal’s new service is not a surprise… Coindesk reported on PayPal’s plan to roll out a cryptocurrency buying service on the heels of Square’s announcement that it generated $306 million in Bitcoin-related revenue in Q1 2020, up from $65 million in Q1 2019… The surprise is in the details—particularly, enabling purchases to be made with crypto and paying merchants in dollars…
Square wrapped its recent purchase of $50 million of Bitcoin in flowery terms of “economic empowerment” and “financial inclusion,” but the real reason may be its intentions to enable its Cash App users to make retail transactions in Bitcoin and pay merchants in the currency of their choice.