PayPal has two decades of experience in online payments and manages 403 million user accounts. So, it caused ripples when it announced on 23 August it would allow UK customers to buy and sell four cryptocurrencies: bitcoin prices rose to a three-month high. But will this – and last October’s roll-out in the US – push cryptocurrencies into the mainstream, or is it just another blip in the short but volatile history of decentralised money?
Customers in the US who have bought cryptocurrencies through Paypal log in twice as often as those who haven’t, says Jose Fernandez da Ponte at PayPal. “We expect digital currencies to play an important role in consumer payments over the longer term,” he says.