SWIFT has been revolutionary in the payments sphere. For years, it has supported international finance and commerce, however, it is not without its flaws. This has led to users looking at alternatives, like stablecoin payments. Xapo Bank, a Bitcoin custodian and licensed private bank, has collaborated with Circle, a global money movement fintech, to become the first licensed bank in the world to integrate USDC payment rails as an alternative to SWIFT.
USDC is a digital dollar, also known as a stablecoin, that is a faster and more efficient way to send and receive money around the globe. By adding outrails to its existing USDC onramps, Xapo Bank is enabling members to bypass ‘costly’ and ‘time-consuming’ SWIFT payments. Instead, they can deposit and withdraw via the stablecoin with no fees charged by Xapo Bank.
The bank is offering a 1:1 conversion rate from USDC to USD. All USDC deposits at Xapo Bank are automatically converted to USD, meaning that members can benefit from a 4.1 per cent annual interest rate return on deposits.
A fully licensed and regulated bank, Xapo Bank is a member of the Gibraltar Deposit Guarantee Scheme (GDGS). This means that Xapo Bank guarantees its members’ USD deposits up to $100,000 equivalent. Ensuring member protection, Xapo Bank does not engage in the staking of any crypto deposits. It does not have any exposure to surrounding crypto markets as all deposits are automatically converted to USD held by the Bank.
Differing from traditional banks
Unlike traditional banks, Xapo does not lend and therefore does not rely on fractional reserve banking to make money as its core business model. Instead, Xapo has all its customers’ funds in reserve and invested in short term liquid assets in order to pass the benefit of that interest earned, to its customers.
Seamus Rocca, CEO of Xapo Bank said: “Xapo Bank’s USDC payment rails mark a watershed moment in financial history. It combines the speed and cost efficiency of the digital dollar, with the security guarantees of a licensed private bank.
“Enabling auto-converted USDC deposits and withdrawals at Xapo Bank gives crypto members a safe haven for their savings. Running 24/7 including weekends, we eliminate the anxiety of keeping your money in exchanges. This is in addition to the hassle of expensive off-ramps into traditional banks.”
“Xapo Bank was built to protect members’ savings. Unlike many traditional banks, we do not offer customer loans. Therefore, all of our customers’ money is held dollar for dollar on our balance sheet. It is invested in very short dated, highly credit rated, money market instruments and short term bonds. We are passing that benefit to our customers in the form of a 4.1 per cent interest rate, paid daily.”
“We charge an honest membership fee of $150 to our members that helps us recover our overheads. This means we don’t have to rely on paying almost no interest to our customers, or use hidden fees to make money. We give the benefit of more than 80 per cent of the yield we generate back to our members.”
Further integrations and collaborations
Striving to grow its payment rails options, Xapo Bank offers members additional currency choices managed with the security of a fully-regulated Bank. Reflecting this, the USDC news comes after last week’s announcement that Xapo Bank had integrated with the Faster Payment System (FPS) to activate support for GBP settlement for account deposits and withdrawals. The bank also announced an integration with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, in collaboration with Lightspark, earlier this month.