The Innovation of an Industry-Leading Crypto Platform

May 06, 2021

Written by Pavel Matveev, CEO and Co-Founder of Wirex. Wirex is a digital payments platform and regulated institution endeavouring to make digital money accessible to everyone. The company allows users to buy, hold, exchange, and sell up to 20 different traditional and crypto currencies, linked to a crypto-enabled debit card where the currencies can be spent anywhere that Visa or Mastercard is accepted.

Crypto has long had a stereotype of being complex and inaccessible to the average user, and back in 2014, when blockchain technology was still in its infancy, this was even more true. My Co-Founder and I, Dmitry Lazarichev founded Wirex that year after identifying the need for a simple answer to the often-confusing world of finance and crypto.

When people think of crypto, they often think of Bitcoin. In reality, the world of crypto is infinitely bigger; many people aren’t aware of the huge range of cryptocurrencies that exist and the benefits they can offer. We’re on a mission to help bridge the gap between digital and traditional currencies, so that everyone can make the most out of their money.

Cryptocurrency is the alternate solution that can fulfil consumers' growing needs for a remarkable financial experience in a faster and economical way. When compared to traditional payment methods, crypto offers cheaper, faster, and more straightforward transactions, and so we founded Wirex on the belief that everyone from complete beginners to crypto enthusiasts should be able to utilise cryptocurrency securely and simply, all from one single and intuitive app. As we move towards a cashless society, our aim is to support and promote the adoption of digital currencies and to provide a low-cost, efficient, and secure transactional environment for individuals.

Continuing to Innovate in a Competitive Landscape

Technological advancements, an increasingly competitive space, and a growing global demand for the benefits of crypto have encouraged us to continue innovating to provide a world-class product. Therefore, we have a team of over 200 based in London, Singapore, Kyiv, Tokyo, Toronto, Dallas, Dublin, and Atlanta that are constantly suggesting new ideas, working on partnerships, and developing next-generation upgrades.

We were the world’s first company to launch a crypto-enabled debit card, back in 2015, which allows users to spend crypto in their day-to-day lives, anywhere that accepts Visa or Mastercard. This was linked to the Wirex app, where we now offer up to 20 different traditional and cryptocurrencies that can be easily bought, exchanged, held or sold.

One of the features we’re most proud of is our world-first Cryptoback™ rewards programme. In June 2019 we created our own, native token: WXT, and using our Cryptoback™ rewards scheme, Wirex customers can earn up to 2% rewards back in WXT for purchases made with their Wirex card, in-store on online. Since it’s automatic, it’s a great way to introduce people to the exciting world of crypto for those who might not know where to begin.

Last year, we gained a lot of recognition for launching our first crowdfunding campaign that raised £3.7million, and for becoming the first crypto-friendly company to receive both Mastercard and Visa Europe Principal Memberships. This is no easy feat for any company to be awarded these, let alone a crypto company! It’s so encouraging to know that both investors and international brands are recognising the incredible advances we’ve made in the fintech and crypto spaces, and we hope this will only continue.

2021 has already been hugely successful for us. For starters, we reached over 3.5 million customers on the platform, spread across the UK, EEA, and APAC regions, but we also launched our brand new crypto-enabled multi-currency Mastercard debit card for Wirex customers living in the UK and EEA. Not only this, but we’ve upgraded our popular rewards system with X-tras, which allows users to subscribe to higher Cryptoback™ rewards and receive up to 12% AER annual Savings Bonus on their WXT balance. We’re continuing to develop our app with user-friendly features, and only last week announced a partnership with Snowdrop Solutions Ltd. to provide a range of location-enriched services in-app which show customers exactly where their transactions take place.

Mass Adoption and the Future of Crypto

The demand for crypto has gone far beyond a form of investment and is radically shifting the payments landscape as a whole. Since COVID-19, we’ve seen real-use cases for crypto and a more pressing need for a digital economy; scared of spreading the virus, hard cash was discouraged and both contactless and online payments became common. Similarly, the development of a range of applications for decentralised finance (DeFi) using blockchain technology seem all the more appealing to the public as they become more disillusioned with traditional banks.

We’re closer than we’ve ever been to the mass adoption of crypto, so it’s a really exciting time to be in this space. The growing popularity and potential to compete with the traditional economy have led to increased oversight by government bodies and the need for regulatory frameworks to manage the crypto space. For example, the UK’s FCA have recently introduced 5AMLD, where all crypto companies operating in the UK must be registered. As a fully compliant company that embraces regulations, we’re already on the temporary register for this and in the process of applying for permanent registration, and believe it’s an important move in separating legitimate crypto companies from those that are not, and improving consumer trust in the currency. These decisions will significantly shape what the future of crypto might look like in the coming years.

Not only this, but the last year has seen a series of international consumer brands enter the crypto space, including Facebook and Paypal. For these businesses, the only way they can continue to innovate and be forward-looking is to recognise crypto as a legitimate form of payment, and I think this is the start of a bright future of widespread institutional adoption of crypto.

As trusted brands and well-known names associate themselves and publicly talk about crypto, it’s likely that it will continue to flourish and challenge the traditional economy. With the support of regulatory bodies, increased public recognition of the benefits that crypto can offer, and an explosion of innovation in the DeFi sector, I believe crypto will continue to play a vital role in the payments sector across the globe. Here at Wirex, we’re really excited to be a part of this journey.

Keep an eye out for our exciting announcements in the coming months which will ensure we continue our success. This includes a launch in the US, the addition of more DeFi coins to the platform, a release of X Accounts allowing users to set aside pots of money in-app, and an exciting announcement about our native token, WXT.

Pavel Matveev is CEO and Co-Founder of Wirex