PayPal has announced the launch of a new service enabling its customers in the UK to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency. 

The service, which starts rolling out this week, allows customers to choose from four types of cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.

By accessing their PayPal account via the website or the mobile app, they can view real-time crypto prices, access educational content to help answer commonly asked questions, and learn more about cryptocurrencies, including the opportunities and risks.

The announcement marks the first international expansion of the company’s cryptocurrency offering outside of the United States. 

“The pandemic has accelerated digital change and innovation across all aspects of our lives – including the digitisation of money and greater consumer adoption of digital financial services,” said Jose Fernandez da Ponte, VP and GM for blockchain, crypto and digital currencies at PayPal. 

“Our global reach, digital payments expertise, and knowledge of consumer and businesses, combined with rigorous security and compliance controls provides us the unique opportunity, and the responsibility, to help people in the UK to explore cryptocurrency. 

“We are committed to continue working closely with regulators in the UK, and around the world, to offer our support—and meaningfully contribute to shaping the role digital currencies will play in the future of global finance and commerce.”

PayPal is one of the largest companies globally to enter the market for digital currencies with its announcement last October that it would allow its millions of US customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies. 

This March, the company announced ‘Checkout with Crypto’ – enabling customers in the US to use their cryptocurrency alongside other payment methods in their PayPal wallet to make purchases at businesses around the world. 

In April, the company introduced crypto services on its mobile payment service Venmo in the US.

PayPal says it has also explored the potential of digital currencies through partnerships with licensed and regulated cryptocurrency platforms and with central banks around the world.