PayPal has become the latest traditional online payment platform to embrace cryptocurrencies. The company announced on Wednesday a new service that will allow customers to buy, sell and hold bitcoins and other digital currencies in their online wallets. The service, which has just started to roll out, will be available on its website, as well as in its mobile applications, and can be used as a source of financing for purchases at its 26 million stores around the world starting next year.

PayPal President and CEO 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, and the full service is expected to roll out for PayPal account holders in the US “in the coming weeks.” The company plans to expand the capabilities 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, risks and opportunities related to investing in cryptocurrencies, and information on blockchain technology.” The company waives service fees when buying or selling cryptocurrencies until December 31, 2020, and says it will not charge any fees for holding cryptocurrencies in a PayPal account.

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