PayPal users can now transfer their cryptocurrency from PayPal to and from other wallets and exchanges, making the payments giant one of a growing number of fintech companies adding crypto capabilities. The company said the feature would be available Tuesday to some U.S. users and the rest of eligible U.S. users in coming weeks.
PayPal customers could already buy and sell bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash and litecoin in the app, including using the crypto at checkout on some purchases.
But now customers can send coins in to PayPal, move their crypto from PayPal to third-party crypto hardware wallets or exchanges, and send crypto to other PayPal users in "seconds" with no fees. PayPal doesn't charge fees to transfer crypto into or out of PayPal, but network or gas fees may apply.
The crypto wallet world is roughly divided into custodial and self-custody wallets, with PayPal's new offering falling in the former camp. Coinbase offers both, the Coinbase.com custodial wallet and Coinbase Wallet for a self-custody option. Block's Cash App is a custodial wallet, broadly similar to PayPal, though it only supports bitcoin; Block is also working on a self-custody hardware wallet. Robinhood recently added crypto wallets for its users.
Because PayPal's wallet is custodial, users don't have access to private keys. (PayPal positions this as a benefit, telling users they won't have to worry about losing keys, and promises to replace crypto if accounts are hacked.) With the new feature, when PayPal users want to receive a crypto transfer, PayPal creates a new "receive" address for each transaction.