Global payments provider firm PayPal has announced that it will allow customers to hold bitcoins and other virtual coins its online wallet, and shop using cryptocurrencies at the 26 million merchants on its network.

Through this move, the California based company could aid bitcoin and rival cryptocurrencies gain wider adoption as viable payment methods across the world.

PayPal is teaming up with cryptocurrency firm Paxos Trust Company to offer the service.

“We are working with central banks and thinking of all forms of digital currencies and how PayPal can play a role,” President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman said in an interview.

PayPal also believes that the new service will encourage the global use of virtual coins and prepare its network for new digital currencies that central banks and companies may develop and roll out in the near future.

The American firm said it will make available the ability to make payments with cryptocurrencies in their PayPal wallets over the coming weeks, and expands the service to its peer-to-peer payment app Venmo and selected countries in the first half of 2021.

PayPal joins other mainstream fintech firms such as mobile payments provider Square Inc and stock trading app firm Robinhood Markets Inc in allowing users to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies.

The firm is one of the largest in the sector with over 346 million active accounts globally, and processed $222 billion in payments in the second quarter.

The news prompted the prices of Bitcoin to hit its highest mark since July 2019. It was last up 4.8% at $12,494 taking gains for the original and biggest cryptocurrency above 75% for the year.

Meanwhile PayPal’s shares rose 4%, hitting the best mark in a month.

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