MoneyGram Lets U.S. Customers Go Crypto
MoneyGram is enabling its customers in (nearly all of) the U.S. to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies via their MoneyGram apps. Three cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) – are the digital assets available courtesy of the new service. MoneyGram expected to offer other cryptocurrencies in 2023.
“Cryptocurrencies are additive to everything we’re doing at MoneyGram,” Chairman and CEO Alex Holmes said. “From dollars to euros to yen and so on, MoneyGram enables instant access to over 120 currencies around the globe, and we see crypto and digital currencies as another input and output option.”
The new service is made possible thanks to MoneyGram’s partnership with licensed crypto exchange, crypto-as-a-service provider, and new Finovate alum Coinme. The company’s alliance with Coinme extends back to 2021, when the two firms teamed up to expand access to cryptocurrencies by establishing thousands of U.S. locations where consumers can use cash to buy and sell bitcoin.
Coinme demoed its crypto-as-a-service solution at FinovateSpring earlier this year. MoneyGram made a “strategic investment” in the Seattle, Washington-based company in January. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
Revolut Enables Crypto Spending for Debit Card Holders
MoneyGram isn’t the only company busy making it easier for its customers to participate in the cryptocurrency market. Revolut debit card customers in both the U.K. and Switzerland will now be able to alternate between crypto and fiat purchases both online and offline.
“This year we have not only increased the number of cryptocurrencies available in the Revolut app to close to 100 tokens and launched Crypto Learn & Earn education courses enjoyed by millions of our customers,” Revolut crypto general manager Emil Urmanshin said. “Now we are making crypto even more mainstream by empowering people to use crypto-enabled cards to spend their tokens for everyday purchases.”
To enable the capability in the Revolut app, customers open the Cards section and select one of their existing physical or virtual cards. Customers then enter the card’s settings function and changes the setting from fiat to one of the nearly 100 supported cryptocurrencies. Once linked, a crypto-enabled card will process the transaction using the preferred digital asset. Revolut’s crypto-enabled cards will offer a 1% cashback on all purchases for a promotional period. Customers are also able to order a dedicated virtual or physical card specifically for crypto payments.
About That Blockchain … Lex Fridman Interviews Balaji Srinivasan
If you’re looking for something to listen to while on your drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco (and halfway back), then this 7+ hour discussion between Lex Fridman and former Coinbase CTO – and current angel investor – Balaji Srinivasan may be just what you’re looking for!
Failing that, skip ahead to 6:40:42 or so in this extended interview to listen to Srinivasan talk about the present and future of cryptocurrencies, AI, AR, and VR.
Blockchain Platform Paxos Gets Green Light in Singapore
Blockchain infrastructure platform Paxos secured a license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore this week. The license will enable the company to offer digital payment token services to companies based in Singapore. The license – made possible courtesy of the Payment Services Act of 2019 – also makes Paxos the first U.S.-based blockchain infrastructure platform to earn regulatory approval in both New York and Singapore.
Paxos Asia CEO and co-founder Rich Teo underscored the company’s commitment to “innovating within regulatory frameworks”. Teo said, “We believe blockchain and digital assets will revolutionize finance for everyone around the world, but development of this technology must have clear oversight and consumer protections.”
Paxos offers tokenization, custody, trading, and settlement of digital assets. The company builds enterprise blockchain solutions for financial institutions such as PayPal, Nubank, and Bank of America. Paxos launched the first regulated cryptocurrency exchange, itBit, in 2012. The company issued the world’s first regulated stablecoin, PAX (now known as USDP) in 2018.
Eswatini’s Central Bank to Explore CBDCs
Did you know that the country formerly called Swaziland is now “Eswatini”? If not, then consider this news that the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) has teamed up with Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to research development of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), a twofer.
Located in southern Africa and bordered by Mozambique and South Africa, the Kingdom of Eswatini is one of a number of developing economies that has expressed interest in CBDCs in recent years. The country’s central bank inked an agreement with G+D this week that calls for research into the practicality of developing and implementing a CBDC in the country. The CBE will also explore the possibility of issuing digital Lilangeni to complement the country’s banknotes and coins, the dominant forms of payment among the nation of 1.2 million people.
The relationship between the bank and Munich, Germany-based G+D extends back to a time before cryptocurrencies were a significant part of the fintech conversation. G+D Currency Technology CEO Dr. Wolfram Seidemann highlighted the “long history of trusted collaboration” – of more than 40 years – between the Central Bank of Eswatini and Giesecke+Devrient. “The Kingdom of Eswatini is among the first African countries to take the step towards a retail CBDC and we are honored to support this journey towards digital public currency with our expertise,” Seidemann said.