Cloud money services platform Uphold has announced its expansion to China and Hong Kong with support for UnionPay cards.
The startup, founded by Halsey Minor, has traditionally provided bitcoin storage and payments to users, allowing them to hedge against bitcoin’s volatility by pegging their holdings to fiat currency or precious metals.
In October, it changed its name from Bitreserve to Uphold and revamped its branding and website. Its marketing focus has shifted to low-cost fiat currency exchange and global transfers, and it is branded as a FinTech company. It says to have facilitated over $700 million worth of cloud money transactions to date.
Bitcoin is now a secondary focus at best, though the platform is also marketed as the only way to buy and store bitcoin without any fees.
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In its announcement, Uphold CEO Anthony Watson said that Uphold is the “first U.S. based financial services company to successfully provide and operate services in Greater China and Hong Kong since the country opened its $7 trillion bank card market to foreign players on June 1, 2015.”
Recently, Apple Pay made its entry into China, also through UnionPay.
As part of the October shift, credit and debit funding options were first introduced on Uphold.
The fee for UnionPay transactions is 3.8%. To be eligible, UnionPay members must submit their ID. Also noted is that the onboard of any funds to the platform is in full compliance with Chinese state capital controls and requirements.
While Uphold has been increasingly shifting focus to fiat currency, it also recently announced its support for “Voxel”, a token launched by a virtual reality content platform called Voxelus.