- Aiming to resolve exchange headaches, cryptocurrency services startup Wyre is collaborating with MoneyGram and Stellar Development Foundation to allow its 15 million end-users in some 100 countries to convert their fiat currency into digital assets and to cash out of their digital currencies, the company said in a Wednesday press release.
- Wyre’s announcement expands on MoneyGram’s press release last month unfurling the new partnership with Stellar that bridges the crypto and cash worlds. The service is only available in certain markets, including the U.S., Canada and Kenya, though a spokesperson for MoneyGram said the function for cashing out of crypto is now available worldwide, where permitted by law.
- “In removing barriers to accessibility, users are given the opportunity to move the dollars from their pockets onto the blockchain in five minutes,” Wyre CEO Ioannis Giannaros said in the latest release.
One of the main problems cryptocurrency users face is converting their digital assets into cash, but MoneyGram, Stellar and Wyre are making the process of exchanging crypto for cash more widely available. With MoneyGram’s network, customers can now exchange crypto for fiat currency at everyday locations such as pharmacies and grocery stores.
At the time of its earlier release last month, MoneyGram said consumers could visit locations where its services are provided to either load their digital wallets or cash out digital currencies. The money transfer company reaches into some 400,000 locations worldwide, sometimes still with its trademark red phones on store counters.
Now, Wyre, which provides developers with application programming interfaces for cryptocurrency services, is tapping into that new collaboration. “Wyre’s vision has always been to bring cryptocurrency to the masses regardless of location, financial means, or economic literacy,” Giannaros said in the statement.
In April, Wyre was acquired by the fintech Bolt, a checkout software provider, for $1.5 billion in cash and stock, the largest purchase Bolt has ever made. The deal will enable Bolt to process cryptocurrency transactions, distinguishing it from other payment processors.
But as Wyre’s new parent company begins integrating crypto into its services, it has experienced some discord in recent months. In February, Ryan Breslow, founder and former CEO of Bolt, transitioned from CEO to executive chairman after tweeting a rant on Twitter against fintech rival Stripe and startup accelerator Y Combinator for their role in the company’s early beginnings.
Though Wyre seeks to make cryptocurrency conversion more accessible, it remains to be seen how many people will use digital currencies. An S&P survey released in March found that only 19% of cryptocurrency users have used their crypto for payments, though nearly two-thirds of crypto users are buying the asset, and a third are selling it.
Similarly, a recent PYMNTS.com survey of 2,300 consumers found that less than a quarter (23%) of consumers own or have owned cryptocurrency in the past year. Instead, more than half of consumers who owned digital assets held them as an investment, the survey found.
And despite the global interest in crypto, even as its prices slump, some research suggests that they don’t quite comprehend it. A YouGov survey released earlier this year found that almost seven in 10 U.S. respondents don’t understand cryptocurrency.
Wyre joins other payment platforms in facilitating cryptocurrency payments. In March 2021, PayPal began allowing U.S. shoppers to pay for their purchases at select sellers with cryptocurrency. Plus, card issuers like Visa and Mastercard have been issuing cards that will enable consumers to pay for purchases using cryptocurrency.