KuCoin, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange, has signed a partnership which will allow users to buy cryptocurrency with credit and debit cards.
Filling the gap
Israeli payments firm Simplex is the other half of the deal. According to the KuCoin website, customers will now be able to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, USD and EUR using their payment cards. This is significant because Visa and MasterCard are no longer sure bets; they both classified cryptocurrency-related transactions as high-risk, a status that comes with considerable use restrictions.
Simplex is a payments startup with a focus on fraud prevention. It was founded in Israel in 2014, and in February 2016 raised $7 million from a number of investors, including Bitmain. In June 2018 it started a service for companies running initial coin offerings.
KuCoin, established in September 2017, is one of the more popular cryptocurrency exchanges, having handled almost $12 million worth of cryptocurrency transactions over the last 24 hours according to coinmarketcap.com.
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KuCoin had once claimed to be based in Hong Kong. In August, a journalist actually visited the site and discovered that the company was not actually there. KuCoin responded, saying that Hong Kong was the site of its mailing address, while its actually headquarters is in Singapore. It did not provide the Singapore address.
It moved to the EOS blockchain from Ethereum shortly after the former’s launch in April, and earlier in November raised $20 million in funding from three different investment firms. In August, the exchange announced that it would be keeping its KCS tokens locked up for an additional year, until September 2019. The token has a market capitalisation of $56 million, according to coinmarketcap.com, and there are 100 million in lockup.
Regarding the recent Bitcoin Cash civil war – it is currently listing the two Bitcoin Cash forks separately, as BCHAB and BCHSV.
Interestingly, the former head of Visa UK has been working at a cryptocurrency bank since May. Mark O’Brien, who headed the payments giant’s British operation for around six years, was poached by Crypterium, an Estonian startup which calls itself “The JPMorgan of Cryptobanks”.