How PayPal Can Facilitate Bitcoin Purchases
When you think about the concept of digital payments in a very basic way, it can be easy to think of PayPal and bitcoin as competitors. Some might contend that this is a simplistic view given that one deals with ordinary currency and the other with a digital alternative. But in terms of how and why people would use these services, there is some overlap. While bitcoin is primarily about accountability, anonymity, and security, it’s fair to say that some of its proponents and users are also just interested in quick, digital payments – which PayPal has been facilitating for years now.
There are also specific ways in which PayPal and bitcoin are at times pitted against one another. For instance, there are online industries in which one is usable, but the other (usually, bitcoin) is not. Ticket exchanges have been targeted by cryptocurrencies as potential areas of heavy use, yet it’s more likely at a major exchange to see a PayPal button than a bitcoin option. Similarly, cryptocurrencies have begun to creep into online gaming and gambling markets, but usually on smaller, specialized sites. More broadly speaking, PayPal is included among the popular online payment providers for these sites and activities.
The idea, basically, is that in some of the larger areas in which bitcoin might be used, not for its more advanced or unique features, but as a means of digital payment, PayPal has gotten there first and to some extent blocked the way. It has further blocked the way for bitcoin’s growth by joining Alibaba and Amazon in “saying no” to cryptocurrencies. It appears that these companies, which represent some of the biggest and most important online vendors in the world, simply don’t want to take the risk involved in allowing bitcoin payments just yet. And this – particularly in the case of Amazon – is one of the main things keeping bitcoin from becoming a more ubiquitous currency alternative.
However, while PayPal does not accept payments or transfers in cryptocurrency, nor does it possess its own exchange (as rival payment processor Square now does), the service can be used to facilitate bitcoin purchases.
There are actually multiple methods for purchasing cryptocurrency through your PayPal account. For example, a service like Virwox allows you to purchase bitcoins with funds you deposit through PayPal. There are a few complicated steps in the process, and fees can add up, but it’s effectively an indirect way of buying up bitcoin with PayPal money. You also have the option of using any funds you may have in PayPal to purchase a BTC debit card through Wirex. This isn’t a direct purchase of bitcoin, but it does allow you to enable your own bitcoin spending via PayPal. And there are some alternative concepts too, such as the use of eToro to invest in cryptocurrency via a “Contract of Difference.”
These aren’t direct purchasing methods, but they do demonstrate that PayPal and bitcoin are close enough that, even while appearing to be in competition, they can be enjoyed together. Even if we aren’t at the point at which PayPal can be used to buy bitcoins directly, it may not be holding the cryptocurrency back quite as much as so many believed.