PayPal Holdings (PYPL -1.68%) announced today that it is rolling out a new feature that will allow account holders to buy and sell cryptocurrency on the platform, as well as use the digital assets to make purchases from its network of 26 million merchants.

Customers will be able to use their PayPal digital wallets to buy and sell bitcoin, Ethereum, bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin to start. PayPal is partnering with Paxos Trust Company to make the offering possible.

"The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly," CEO Dan Schulman said in a statement.

Generic digital bank picture

Image source: Getty Images.

The New York State Department of Financial Services has given PayPal a first-of-its-kind conditional Bitlicense to carry out the crypto offering, the company said.

Although other companies allow customers to buy and sell various cryptocurrencies, PayPal's massive network of merchants is a big win for crypto enthusiasts, and will greatly help expand the utility of digital currencies.

It comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has made the widespread adoption of digital payments and currencies much more feasible than ever before.

PayPal said the new crypto service will be available to U.S. customers in the next few weeks. The company will also make features available on its popular subsidiary Venmo and in select international markets in the first half of 2021.