PayPal’s crypto checkout lets users spend Bitcoin — but merchants still get fiat

PayPal logo in a picture of the Earth surrounded by gold Bitcoin symbols

PayPal users can now convert crypto instantly and use it to pay for goods from more than 29 million merchants.

The payment giant’s new Checkout with Crypto service allows shoppers to complete transactions by changing Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or Bitcoin Cash to fiat currencies like the US dollar.

The option to use crypto will automatically appear in a user’s wallet at the time of purchase — provided they have the necessary funds.

The move is PayPal’s latest effort to meet apparent demand for crypto payment options. PayPal gave users the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency directly from their accounts late last year.

The company calls Checkout with Crypto a “new way for businesses to get paid” that also shields merchants from the infamous volatility of digital assets like Bitcoin.

PayPal merchants still won’t touch Bitcoin

PayPal is selling this as a boon for crypto’s mass adoption. But, it must be said that merchants won’t touch crypto at all, with all payments converted to fiat currency before settling.

In fact, the process is so watered down that users can only spend crypto that already exists in the PayPal system (it’s a closed-loop platform) — and the only way to acquire crypto inside that system is to buy it from (you guessed it): PayPal.

So, it’s not like you can deposit your own Bitcoin and spend it with merchants.

[Read more: Visa just used the Ethereum blockchain to settle a stablecoin payment]

In any case, PayPal seems content despite its centralized approach.

However, referring to its new functionality as “Checkout with Crypto” despite effectively forcing payers (and merchants!) to use fiat certainly feels disingenuous.

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