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PayPal will now let you buy anything with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin

This is how you get normal people interested in crypto.

paypal crypto purchases on smartphone
Image: PayPal

PayPal rolled out the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency at the end of last year, and now it’s extending that to let its users pay with their crypto. The new “Checkout with Crypto” feature is rolling out today, so anyone with a PayPal account and stored crypto can use it to buy anything at any merchant that accepts PayPal as a payment option.

The transaction is like any other fiat (that’s cash, to you and me) purchase, as PayPal converts the crypto into US dollars which it then uses to complete the transaction and pay the merchant. It’ll even take it one step further, and convert those dollars into whatever the local currency is, at PayPal’s standard conversion rates.

The “Checkout with Crypto” button will only show up if the user has a “sufficient cryptocurrency balance to cover an eligible purchase,” and the app will show you all of your different crypto coin balances. Purchases need to be made using a single coin type, slightly limiting its functionality.

The one thing that’s really missing from PayPal’s implementation? The ability for users that have cryptocurrency balances elsewhere to transfer them into their PayPal crypto wallet. Currently, you can only use those crypto coins that you purchase from inside PayPal’s app. That’s presumably to keep on the right side of banking regulations, or possibly the IRS, as PayPal has no way of knowing where your other crypto coins came from.

That said, now that PayPal has both purchasing and selling options for crypto, it’s now a major digital wallet and cryptocurrency exchange. It’s also one of the more mainstream cash-sending services, with 377 million active accounts. If crypto ever is going to gain mainstream adoption, piggybacking on major, established money-sending services is the way to go.

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