Spending and exchanging digital currencies are two of the biggest challenges enthusiasts face when building a crypto portfolio. While some high-profile retailers such as Subway, Microsoft and Expedia accept Bitcoin as payment, retailers that have adopted crypto represent a tiny fraction of the market. Limited payment options, complex processes and expensive exchange fees are typical obstacles that discourage individuals from using cryptocurrency as a regular form of payment.
Wirex, an FCA-regulated digital money platform that seamlessly facilitates the exchange and purchase of both crypto and fiat currencies, has removed these obstacles. Their platform solves the problem of spending cryptos by facilitating the exchange of cryptos for traditional currency and vice versa. Currently, people living in the EEA can use a Wirex Visa payment card to spend their cryptos online and in shops, or to withdraw money from ATMs.
While the platform supports over 50 digital currencies, the coins that currently attract the most attention are Bitcoin, Litecoin and XRP. The platforms recently added Ethereum wallet has captured the attention crypto enthusiasts because Ethereum can be used as a platform for other cryptocurrencies, and Ether transactions tend to be confirmed quicker by the blockchain.
Pavel Matveev, co-founder of Wirex Limited, says, “As the second highest-value cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, the Ethereum Wallet is an important addition for the 1.8 million users on the platform. Ethereum stands out from other cryptocurrencies because, while it is a digital currency, it has an entirely different protocol to Bitcoin. Besides using Ether (the coin) to transfer money, it allows you to execute smart contracts. These smart contracts will have the effect of eventually eliminating the middle man from contracts, resulting in increased efficiency and savings for the consumer.”
The utility underpinning Ethereum is what makes it so appealing to crypto enthusiasts, and the new ETH wallet provides Wirex users with access to a stable and innovative altcoin. This will also pave the way for Wirex to support erc tokens which is on the cards for later this year.
Matveev says, “Our focus is to bring cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. The only way we – and other industry players – are going to ensure this is to provide user-friendly platforms that integrate both fiat and cryptocurrencies with low fees and instant execution. We have achieved this, but our work is not done. Our recent FCA e-money licence means we can offer users a broader range of both crypto and fiat currencies across the EEA. We are currently operating in over 130 countries and expanding rapidly.”
While great strides have been made in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, there are still some issues that need to be addressed. The ICO (initial coin offering) market has muddied the waters, as a large percentage of them are of little or no value, and some are even fraudulent. As regulators get to grips with the implementation of a regulatory framework and squeeze shady players out of the market, legitimate companies will thrive. Wirex is not an ICO company; rather, they are backed by strong investors and offer users a highly secure and regulated platform that they can trust.
Most experts agree that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. As the technology evolves and functionality improves, it is anticipated that digital currency will be as commonplace as fiat in the long term. How this landscape will look and function is still up for debate. It will be an interesting journey, however – here’s hoping the UK will continue to own top spot on the Fintech podium.