We started Wirex in 2014, back when the price of a Bitcoin was $300, the main users of cryptocurrencies were tech geeks and blockchain was in its infancy. Since then, our company and product have changed to accommodate industry trends, regulatory requirements and market demand. The only thing that has remained unchanged is our vision. I want to use this opportunity to talk about what Wirex is about and how we see ourselves going forward.
A complex product
The fact that Wirex combines the digital (cryptocurrency accounts and P2P transfers) world with the traditional (banking and card infrastructure) often leads to confusion. Some people think Wirex is Bitcoin debit card, others believe that Wirex is the easiest way to buy XRP. there is another group of people, who don’t care about cryptocurrencies, but they use Wirex because of the ease and low cost to exchange traditional currencies. It soon became clear that, from a technical standpoint, our product is probably one of the most complex in the Fintech industry — mainly because we support both blockchain and traditional infrastructure.
To better explain this, let me describe our back-end integration:
- 10 exchanges to cover different currency pairs and find the best rates.
- 4 OTC players to accommodate high-value orders and find the best price for particular currency combination and order depth.
- 3 FX brokers to provide interbank exchange rates for traditional currency pairs.
- 8 different blockchains to support Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP, Ethereum, Wollo, Waves, Dai and Nano, with others coming in the future.
- Visa card processing in 5 different regions: EEA, US, APAC, Canada and Japan
- Faster Payments, SEPA, SWIFT and ACH
At this point, you might be asking, “why bother with so many integrations and such a complex infrastructure?” The answer is quite simple — nobody has done what we are doing before. There is no one-stop-solution for blockchain-based payments on the market, so we need to build one from scratch.
A digital payment platform
Our company vision is based on two main beliefs:
- There will be millions of tokens in the near future. Given the trend for tokenisation, we will see more tokenised assets such as currencies, shares, real estate, different types of commodities etc. — there is no limit to what you can tokenise. What we see right now is only the beginning of the token economy.
- The future of payments is digital. It’s clear that traditional banking infrastructure is old and expensive and can’t cope with modern requirements from the growing e-commerce/remittance sectors, as well as the lofty expectations of younger generations. Blockchain-based currencies are a solution for all sort of payments: it’s digital, global and fast.
Wirex is a digital payment platform for the growing token economy. We believe that virtual currencies will be the main payment method for all types of payments:
- Everyday payments
- Cross-border remittance
- M2M (Machine-to-Machine) payments
Importantly, we see Wirex as a key player in blockchain-based payments.
A pragmatic approach
The thing about vision is that it should be ambitious and futuristic, but achievable. We understand that payments won’t (and can’t) change overnight and that there will be a long transitional phase before the world starts to transact in digital currencies.
Our approach is quite pragmatic — we understand that the token economy in its current state can’t exist on its own (you can’t use tokens to buy goods or pay for services). It has to be integrated with existing payment infrastructure — that’s why we combine digital infrastructure with card processing and banking rails. This is a necessary step to drive the mass adoption of digital currencies and expose the benefits of the token economy to the masses.
A solution for the future
A lot of people ask me how Wirex is different from other challenger or NEO banks since our goals appear quite similar: to make the payment experience cheaper, faster and more user-friendly. To answer is quite simple — Wirex is working on a solution for the token economy.
What many Fintech players are doing right now is better banking. There is a genuine demand for it; people want cheaper and more convenient banking. But sometimes you need to take a step back and look at what is ahead.
Wirex is not about better banking. We don’t believe that banking infrastructure can be scaled any further. We can’t make SWIFT faster or cheaper, nor can we make banks open on weekends. We truly believe that banking in the payment space has reached its limit.
We know that the future is digital, and we are building a platform that will accommodate just that.