Wirex Brings Cryptocurrency Mobile Payments to Europe
Cryptocurrency these days is taking it on the chin. With prices dropping amid rumor, speculation and occasionally actual news, and governments throughout the world getting involved, the end result is a market that’s looking shaky, but still laden with possibility. Wirex recently dropped us a line, detailing its new multi-currency account, a first-of-its-kind system that allows trading to carry on readily between fiat currency and cryptocurrency.
Wirex’s system combines a contactless debit card and an account that can handle various types of currency to essentially bridge the gap between the end user and cryptocurrency. The account effectively allows users to shop with bitcoin, by turning bitcoin into local currency virtually on demand.
Since Wirex boasts over 1.5 million customers, it’s got the user base to make some headway into the larger market. It’s going to take some time for Wirex to complete its rollout worldwide, though, and it already has a release schedule in mind. It’s currently available in the UK, and has been since March 9. The rest of the European Union should have it by the end of March, meanwhile, and Japan and Southeast Asia will follow suit “soon”.
Wirex’s CEO, Pavel Matveev, noted “Wirex is the only provider in Europe right now to offer crypto, converted into fiat for everyday spending on cards. Transactions in stores, buying goods online or withdrawing money from ATMs just got much easier. We were the first to bring such cards to the world and now we’re the first to bring converted cryptocurrency accounts with new contactless debit cards.”
Given that Visa was recently spotted shutting down cryptocurrency-related card operations in Europe following some rule-breaking on the part of card issuer Wavecrest, this likely seems like a great opportunity to get the crypto trade started again in Europe. Wirex is, at last report, the only such provider of these services running in Europe right now, which will give it extra edge in the market. Of course, some might be skeptical of Wirex’s capabilities, and may choose to stay out altogether until a more well-known name jumps in.
Either way, though, Wirex is working in a space where few, if any, others are. That should garner it at least some support and help drive the effort to mainstream cryptocurrency around the world.