Revolut, a UK-based fast-growing fintech firm, is merging cryptocurrency services with its pre-paid cards, joining other providers in the process as they prepare to harness the blockchain in the belief that it could cut billions off costs and transform the way their industry works.
Once it launches cryptocurrency support next Thursday, Revolut users will be able to buy, sell and hold several cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Users will also be able to transfer the virtual currencies to other Revolut accounts.
The initiative is aimed at turning the app-based bank into a provider of several cryptocurrency transactions so that it can enable its users to conduct crypto transactions in-app, alongside 25 global fiat currencies.
Revolut, which allows people to transfer money cross-border and spend abroad in 120 currencies with no fees, promises to offer competitive rates on crypto transactions, charging only a flat, up-front 1.5 percent without other hidden fees. This is compared with higher fees on other platforms that the company claims it can add up to 5 to 9 percent of the transaction value.
Revolut’s users, about half of them are based in the UK and another half in Europe, can also save extra foreign exchange fees as the company will allow them to buy through all of its base currencies.
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Revolut will offer enhanced consumer protection as the company is building its own internal payment processor, which means it does not have to rely on a third party provider to facilitate customers’ transactions and has more control in the event of a processing failure.
Revolut‘s CEO Nikolay Storonsky said at TechCrunch’s Disrupt Berlin conference: “Despite being one of the hottest trends in the world right now, getting exposure to cryptocurrency has notoriously been time-consuming and expensive.”
Revolut Global was founded about two years ago by former Credit Suisse trader Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, former technology developer at Deutsche Bank AG. The firm currently has 140 employees in its London headquarters and in its offices in Moscow and Krakow. In the future, additional offices in Singapore and New York will be opened.
About a year ago, the company ran crowdfunding campaign, in which 10,000 investors invested more than £17 million. Revolut also managed to raise $66 million in a Series B funding round earlier in July 2017.