Wirex Joins Expanding List of E-Money Licenses Being Issued To Crypto Firms By UK's Regulators

  • The UK's financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), recently issued its third e-money license to blockchain startup Wirex.
  • The FCA has been increasingly granting operational licenses to UK's crypto firms.
  • The regulator has also set up a large sandbox, or a closed testing environment, for various fintech firms.

The UK’s financial market regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), recently issued an operating license to Wirex, a cryptocurrency firm that allows users to trade digital assets without paying fees. Notably, this is the third crypto-related license that the FCA has recently issued.

Founded in 2014, London-based Wirex provides its users with a “contactless” crypto payment card that allows for the conversion of cryptocurrency to fiat for everyday purchases. Wirex’s card currently offers support for major digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP).

$1 Billion In Crypto Transactions Processed

Previously known as E-Coin before rebranding to Wirex in early 2016, the company has reportedly helped process $1 billion in crypto transactions since September, 2017. According to Wirex’s official website, it currently has approximately 800,000 registered users.

Moreover, Wirex’s crypto payment card works like a traditional pre-paid debit card, as the funds have to be loaded onto it prior to using it. The Visa payment card can convert cryptocurrency to USD, euros, or British pounds (GBP) to pay for typical everyday purchases.

At present, Wirex’s card supports payments using more than 50 different digital currencies and it also introduced a new crypto payment network in September 2017 known as W-Pay. According to Wirex, the company had to wait nine months before it was authorized to launch W-Pay, which enabled it to provide support for 25 other altcoins.

Planning To Acquire More Operational Licenses

Commenting on FCA’s recent approval, Dmitry Lazarichev, co-founder of Wirex noted, 

“The licence will not materially affect how we engage with our current clients, although they will benefit from more streamlined services and potentially even lower rates than we currently offer.”

Dmitry Lazarichev

Meanwhile, Wirex App CEO Pavel Matveev said that the crypto firm was planning to acquire more operational licenses in North America, Singapore, and Japan. Currently, the financial technology firm has business offices located in London, Tokyo, Toronto, Delaware, and the Ukrainian city of Kiev.

Earlier in March, as CryptoGlobe reported, the FCA had issued a crypto-related license to San Francisco-based digital asset exchange Coinbase. With the new operational license, Coinbase is now able to work with UK’s financial institutions and other banks throughout the EU.

FCA's Crypto Regulatory Sandbox

More recently, CryptoGlobe also reported that the US-based exchange recently added support for GBP deposits and withdrawals. Notably, the FCA has been operating a sandbox as well, or a closed experimental environment, for various fintech companies for the past two years.

UK-based blockchain startups BlockEx and Globacap were recently approved to join FCA’s crypto sandbox in June and July, 2018, respectively. Both startups intend to provide various crypto-related services using blockchain technology.

According to the UK’s financial regulator, there are 69 different fintech firms that have requested to join its sandbox testing environment and that about 40% of these companies were planning to offer blockchain-related products or services.