PayPal to halt UK crypto sales until 2024

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON (Reuters) – Payments giant PayPal will stop allowing UK customers to buy cryptocurrencies through its platform from October as it works to comply with new rules on crypto promotions.

Britain’s financial regulator is due to bring in tougher rules to limit how crypto is advertised to British consumers, including requiring crypto firms to carry warnings about the risk and scrapping “refer a friend” bonuses.

PayPal will “temporarily pause” the ability for customers to buy crypto on its platform from Oct. 1 as it works to satisfy the new regulations, which come into effect on Oct. 8, it said in an email to customers on Tuesday. It said it expects to re-start in “early 2024”.

“PayPal consistently works closely with regulators around the world to adhere to applicable rules and regulations in the markets in which we operate,” it told customers in the email, a copy of which it shared with Reuters.

It said customers could hold and sell their crypto “at any time.”

The news was earlier reported by crypto media outlets including CoinJournal.

PayPal first launched crypto buying and selling in the UK in 2021.

Regulators around the world are increasingly seeking to regulate crypto assets, after the collapse of several crypto firms including FTX last year left amateur investors with large losses.

After token prices slumped dramatically last year, the price of top cryptocurrency bitcoin has gradually recovered, up around 76% so far this year. Still, its price is at less than half of the all-time high reached in November 2021.

Earlier this month, PayPal’s shares got a boost when it announced that it has launched a U.S. dollar stablecoin – a kind of cryptocurrency designed to keep a constant price by being pegged to a stable asset.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Bernadette Baum)