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PayPal mounts crypto offensive after New York grants a full license

PayPal Holdings Inc. will let users transfer certain cryptocurrencies to other customers, exchanges and external wallets, a new service that’s part of the company’s effort to boost usage of its app.

PayPal Mounts Crypto Offensive After New York Grants a Full License
Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg Mercury

“This is really about access and utility,” Jose Fernandez da Ponte, senior vice president and general manager for PayPal’s blockchain, crypto and digital currencies business, said in an interview. “We are greatly enhancing the utility of moving crypto around.”

The company also said the New York Department of Financial Services granted PayPal a “BitLicense,” which governs businesses working with virtual currencies, according to a statement on the firm’s website Tuesday. PayPal said it was the first company to convert a conditional BitLicense into a full one.

PayPal first started allowing customers to buy, hold and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin in late 2020. The new service lets customers transfer those coins, including from crypto exchanges such as Coinbase Global Inc.

PayPal is pivoting away from a strategy of simply trying to add millions of new users, and instead is seeking to encourage existing customers to use its app more frequently. Average revenue per active account doubles for customers who use services beyond the traditional checkout button PayPal has long been known for. The company has said customers open their wallets twice as often after they sign up for crypto offerings.

PayPal has also been exploring the launch of its own stablecoin, and is interested in connecting users with web3, the catchall term for decentralized finance, nonfungible tokens, and other crypto applications, though no specific decision has been made, Fernandez da Ponte said.

The recent downturn in the crypto market won’t prevent PayPal from continuing to expand its crypto team.

“We think a substantial amount of commerce and payments will happen on digital currencies in the future, and we are playing the long game,” Fernandez da Ponte said.

— By Jenny Surane and Yueqi Yang (Bloomberg Mercury)



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