Cryptocurrency’s New Pal

A PayPal flug next to a Bitcoin symbol on the moon

Francis Scialabba

In one small step for a digital future, and one giant leap for anyone with #Bitcoin in their Twitter bio, payments giant PayPal announced yesterday it would let users “buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrency directly from their PayPal accounts.”  Why it’s a BFDPayPal isn’t the first to allow crypto transactions (other upstart fintechs like Robinhood and Square have been doing so for years), but this news is newsworthy for two reasons:PayPal is huge: It has over 346 million active accounts worldwide, and it processed $222 billion in payments last quarter.Many retailers use PayPal: You’ll now be able to buy your morning coffee using bitcoin or other approved cryptocurrencies at any of the 26 million merchants that use PayPal’s online payment systems. Zoom out: Businesses have shied away from cryptocurrency transactions because of long transfer times and price volatility. But PayPal has allayed those fears by converting the cryptocurrency used to buy a coffee into dollars, pounds, or any other currency that the merchant would typically accept. It’s been a good week for crypto On Monday, during an International Monetary Fund panel, Fed Chair Jerome Powell shared his thoughts on the U.S. creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC): “We do think it’s more important to get it right than to be the first.” Not exactly a gung-ho endorsement of a CBDC, but he didn’t reject the idea, either. Powell’s right about one thing: The U.S. definitely won’t be the first. China has been testing out a new digital currency tied to its central bank since April, while the Central Bank of the Bahamas launched a digital version of the Bahamian dollar yesterday called—and this is pretty epic—Sand Dollar. 
Bitcoin to the moon? 
The most powerful monetary policymakers discussing digital currencies, paired with PayPal’s stamp of approval, sent the price of Bitcoin soaring. Already up over 19% this month, the world’s largest crypto jumped as much as 8.5% yesterday to just under $13,000. That’s the highest price since summer 2019.            

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