Ahead of bitcoin’s recognition as an official form of payment in Japan from Saturday, Wirex, the blockchain personal finance platform, has unveiled new measures to ensure Japanese citizens and customers worldwide can fully benefit from cryptocurrency liberalisation in the country.
Wirex provide pre-paid virtual and plastic cards, which can be topped up with both traditional and crypto currencies, allowing for instant exchange between conventional cash and digital money such as bitcoin.
Co-founder, Pavel Matveev, at Wirex said: “Japan has fired a starting pistol in terms of cryptocurrency adoption. The new rules mean that bitcoin is now an official payment form in the country and this may spark a significant boost to the economy. Japan’s recognition of consumers’ appetite for cryptocurrency payments is an important development and provides other governments with food for thought if they wish to compete in an increasingly globalised and digital world. Bitcoin does face certain challenges such as negative perceptions stemming from past instances of hacking and other illegality. The Japanese financial system will also face a steep learning curve regarding how to report bitcoins in accounts, for example. At the same time bitcoin is rapidly integrating such challenges and is increasingly becoming more robust, as Japan’s official recognition of the cryptocurrency suggests. Integration into the financial system means companies can now more easily develop products and services. Wirex cards enable payments in US dollars, pounds sterling and euros, in addition to bitcoin.”
Coinciding with Japan’s move to formalise bitcoin payments, Wirex has enhanced its offering to provide exchange between bitcoin and USD/GBP/EUR within its app as well as online, to offer greater flexibility and customer choice. YEN will be offered in the near future.
Earlier this month, Wirex announced it received a $3 million investment from Japanese institutional investor, SBI Group, which is part of the R3 consortium and runs Japan’s biggest fintech venture capital fund. SBI is a major investor in fintech firm, Ripple, while Wirex is one of only two UK companies to ever receive funding from a Japanese venture capital fund.
Wirex cards look and work like normal cash cards but customers can make cash transfers, send money abroad, convert between currencies, and manage money with just a few taps.
Contactless bitcoin payments, contactless cards, additional currencies and new bitcoin-based financial products are also planned to be launched soon.
Wirex serves over 500,000 customers in more than 130 countries and is in the process of obtaining an e-money license in the United Kingdom. The company has offices in London, Tokyo and Kiev and boasts on average a 23 per cent month-over-month growth rate. Wirex is expected to offer contactless bitcoin payments, contactless cards, additional currencies and new bitcoin-based financial products in the near future.
About The Founders
Pavel Matveev, Co-CEO
Pavel is an IT professional with extensive experience in software and banking indus- tries. Since 2004, he worked as a developer and solutions architect, leading developer teams for Russian and international IT companies. In 2011, Pavel moved to the UK and worked on high level IT projects with Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, and other institutions. Pavel holds an MSc in Computer Science.
Dmitry is a seasoned finance professional and serial entrepreneur. He worked with Solid, one of the large investment and finance groups in Russia, where he managed valuations and led the company’s entry into consulting services market. In 2012, Dmitry moved to the UK and founded Peltrade Ltd – the first importer of wood biomass from Russia to the UK. It reached in £1M revenue in the first year. Dmitry holds an Executive MBA degree from Cass Business School in London (UK), a Bachelor of Economics and Management and Financial Markets Professional certificate.