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From niche to mainstream

The global payments industry is undergoing a metamorphic shift. Growing consumer expectations and rapid technological advances have converged to transform and modernise the traditional payment model.

Arguably one of the greatest innovations has been cryptocurrency, whose uniqueness and appeal stems from its ability to transfer peer to peer without any bank or government intervention. In less than a decade, the concept of virtual currency has grown from the realms of sci-fi fodder to a very real disrupter to future banking.

You only need to look at the sharp spike in prices to understand its growing allure. Free from the political and economic factors that enslave traditional currencies, the efficiency and cost effectiveness of cryptocurrency appeals to the changing needs of the modern world.

Yet there remains a huge challenge. While the market is reputed to be worth more than $700 billion, its use in everyday life is still not widely accepted.

It is an issue which leading blockchain personal finance platform Wirex is seeking to overcome. Since its inception three years ago, Wirex has worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between traditional banking systems and the future of finance.

It is time to combine cryptocurrency with traditional currencies in our daily finances

“We have reached a pivotal time in the financial services landscape,” says Pavel Matveev, chief executive of Wirex. “It is time to combine cryptocurrency with traditional currencies in our daily finances. They do not need to be mutually exclusive; we believe using both is infinitely better.”

Harnessing its deep knowledge and expertise of the payments market, Wirex is the first of its kind to combine old and new through its digital wallets and contactless cards, providing its customer base a platform for everyday payments.

Mr Matveev explains: “We want to remove the barrier between cryptocurrency accounts and traditional bank accounts. We believe cryptocurrency has a strong role to play in the future, and our aim is to make it as simple and accessible to people as possible.”

Customers of Wirex can access their Wirex account through secure digital wallets, allowing users to buy, store and exchange cryptocurrency safely, as well as convert to traditional currency for instant use in shops or online.

Wirex is currently the only provider in Europe to allow spending in cash converted from cryptocurrency through its contactless Visa cards, and recently integrated its debit card into its multi-currency accounts (GBP, EUR, USD) to make everyday purchases quicker and easier.

As Mr Matveev says: “We’re solving the main problem of digital assets – acceptance. Instead of convincing millions of individual merchants to start accepting cryptocurrency, we have chosen to use existing merchant networks like Visa to access 40 million merchants across more than 200 countries.”

At the heart of all Wirex services is the W-Pay technology which continues to evolve, making it possible to use more than 50 cryptocurrencies together with fiat money in a fully automated and secure environment, without the need to wait for blockchain confirmations.

It is a proposition that has proved immensely popular. Wirex now boasts 1.5 million users and $1.5 billion transaction volume.

Its customers range from bitcoin beginners to seasoned investors and global citizens, from travellers and freelancers to migrants and foreign exchange workers, who need fast, secure and low-cost money transfer options.

“In an increasingly globalised world, cryptocurrency has the potential to democratise financial services for everyone in a way that traditional currencies have failed to do,” says Mr Matveev. “Our expertise in IT, risk management and compliance allow us to offer the most secure and reliable solutions on the market. We know how important it is for our customers to trust in what we do and security is our top priority.”

Indeed, decentralised technology has been hailed by crypto advocates as a means of reconciling many of the defects and failures that have plagued traditional payment architecture.

As financial innovation continues at pace, it is clear Wirex will be at the forefront of the march – offering an unrivalled hybrid personal banking solution that will drive customers’ money to the future of banking.