The price of bitcoin jumped to nearly $60,000 following an announcement by PayPal that it would allow users to use it to pay for goods from millions of online businesses.
PayPal said on 30 March that it would allow users in the US to pay using cryptocurrencies via a new feature called Checkout with Crypto.
PayPal is following in the footsteps of companies such as Elon Musk’s Tesla and Jack Dorsey’s Square in giving mainstream endorsement to cryptocurrencies.
The price of bitcoin rose to $59,032 at 12.50pm GMT following the announcement having stood at $57,147 at 4.59am GMT.
Initially launching in the US, PayPal’s new feature will allow users to convert crypto to a fiat currency such as the US dollar at checkout “with certainty of value and no additional transaction fees”, the company said in a release.
“Enabling cryptocurrencies to make purchases at businesses around the world is the next chapter in driving the ubiquity and mass acceptance of digital currencies,” said Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal.
Users will be able to pay with bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum or bitcoin cash, which will be converted to US dollars, with the seller then receiving payment in the currency of their choice.
On 24 March Tesla said it was starting to accept bitcoin in payment for its electric cars. The company said it would hold the bitcoin it received in the currency and would not convert it into cash.
Both Tesla and Square have also invested in bitcoin, a move that signalled their endorsement of the “monetary revolution” of cryptocurrencies, Castle Island Ventures’ founder Nic Carter said on 29 March.
“When Square does it they are signalling… they are aligned with the mission and that they really believe in this effectively monetary revolution and Jack Dorsey has made it very clear that he is part of that, he is on board,” Carter said.
“Tesla again I see as signalling, Elon Musk is saying ‘I believe in this project, it’s really interesting to me, and we are an exciting glamorous company so we are going to align ourselves with this exciting asset that lots of millennials find to be cool’,” Carter said.
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