The ‘Bitcoin revolution’ is something that financial experts and market analysers have been predicting for years. The idea seems revolutionary – that we can send money directly to anyone on the internet via our devices without the involvement of banks – but it has not been embraced as much as ‘experts’ expected it to be. Indeed, it has hardly been embraced at all.
All that though may be about to change. The world’s leading (by far) online financial services provider or eWallet – PayPal – have announced plans to embrace cryptocurrencies. Users will not be able to make transactions in Bitcoin via the PayPal platform as they would in pounds or dollars for example, but they will be able to buy and sell Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
People could be willing to accept cryptocurrencies more if it’s okay with PayPal
Paypal are not the first large multi-national to accept cryptocurrencies (Facebook and Google do) but they are the first large financial services provider to accept them. With a customer base of 360 million, that fact that you can make digital currency purchases online via Paypal may have a profound effect on the way that cryptocurrencies are regarded.
Most people are loathe to deal with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin because they don’t understand how they work. Bitcoins are simply lines of code, which are stored – typically – in a user’s cloud-based wallet just as fiat currency coins and notes are stored in a wallet or purse. Bitcoin transactions move coins from one wallet to another over the internet.
Cryptocurrencies are appealing at the moment because of the volatile nature of the world’s financial markets due to the influence of COVID-19. Currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum are de-centralised, meaning they are not tied to a particular nation and – importantly – they are not tied to a particular nation’s economy.
The industry reacts to the news that PayPal will embrace cryptocurrencies
Reaction to this news has been mixed. Peter Smith, co-founder of Blockchain.com said: “PayPal’s decision to let users buy and sell crypto, but not withdraw or deposit it, is a highly centralised and inflexible approach. We saw this with Robinhood, and we’re seeing it again today. Crypto is about financial freedom. It’s modern money that anyone anywhere can truly control.”
Reuben Yap of Zcoin was a little more positive. “While PayPal’s business model thrives off earning lucrative fees from being a centralized intermediary for payments, one of things cryptocurrencies was designed to avoid, ironically, PayPal’s move looks to be a significant milestone in legitimizing cryptocurrencies by making it available as a funding source for millions of merchants and customers.”
PayPal’s move seems unlikely to change much for the realm of online slots and online casinos. People in the UK may think this move is good news, given that the means of their funding their casino accounts seems to be diminishing on daily basis thanks to UKGC rules and regulations, but players will not be able to use Bitcoins to fund their gambling accounts via PayPal any more than they previously could.
This step does though mark perhaps a step towards a greater acceptance and understanding of cryptocurrencies and peer-to-peer payments. Perhaps the fabled ‘Bitcoin revolution’ is finally starting to show a little traction?