With only a decade of existence, the crypto space has already hit an all-time high market cap of close to $800 billion when its bulls rallied towards the end of 2017. Since then, the space has been defined by new market entrants as both retail and institutional investors look to get a portion of the digital asset ‘juice’. Following the growth in demand for digital assets, solutions to integrate fiat ecosystems with the new crypto world have come up to meet the market needs.
Notable innovations include on-ramp and off-ramp crypto services offered by exchanges in this niche. To put it into perspective, on-ramp solutions enable prospective crypto market entrants to acquire crypto tokens such as Bitcoin and Ether by simply depositing cash into the ecosystem and exchanging it for listed digital assets. Off-ramp solutions on the other hand facilitate the use of crypto in payments for products or services as well as conversion to fiat bank deposits. In addition to the two, traditional FinTech trading apps like Robinhood and Jack Dorsey’s Square have also included some cryptocurrencies in their listed portfolio.
While fiat-to-crypto gateways are being built aggressively, the market appears to be consolidating towards specific projects whose value proposition surpasses that of peer competitors. Here are some of the 5 gates that have so far proven to be integral in connecting the worlds of crypto and fiat.
The Chao Zhao led exchange is another fiat-to-crypto gateway whose basket of services span across the crypto sector. In terms of on-ramp solutions, the exchange accepts over 20 fiat currencies with prominent features including USD, AUD, CAD, CNY, IDR, KES, JPY and INR. Users can in turn buy BTC, BNB, BUSD, XRP and ETH amongst other digital assets. Other than P2P exchange services, Binance features spots and futures markets whose underlying is dictated by listed digital currencies.
Notably, Binance’s P2P ecosystem also allows users to make crypto purchases via card providers such as Mastercard as well as third-party payment providers like Mercuryo. With these options in place, it is not surprising that Binance is a giant in the crypto scene with the recent growth in DeFi further increasing the value of its native token, BNB. The firm’s founder popularly known as ‘CZ’ by the crypto community is one of the top successes in the industry, having run the firm barely four years.
The platform is part of Neurochain’s payments system that consists of a fourth-generation blockchain, a decentralized exchange, a crypto wallet, crypto cards and a native token. The platform combines P2P markets with an exchanger allowing users to conduct cross border payments. On the platform, users can exchange, store and earn digital assets conveniently around the globe. The exchange is quite unique from other P2P platforms since it allows users to set the floating rate for orders and with an additional possibility of setting the cut-off rate at which the order will be taken off the main page once the price drops below a certain point. Currently, the exchange supports BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, EMC, DASH, and DOGE. However, there are plans to add EOS, BCH, BSV, EURT, USDT, CNHT, and XAUT after it launches its Neuron Wallet in the middle of August. Also, in January 2021, the exchange plans to launch its Neuron MasterCards with decentralized processing that will offer 70% reduced fees compared to other fiat cards.
NeuronEx is able to offer fast transactions since its built on Neurochain, a blockchain with high throughput with speeds of up to 101,879.99 tx/s. Costs are also quite cheap near zero or 1 NRON coin/tx. If a user opts to pay for transactions using NRON token then they get 50% off their fees. Also, new users on the platform get to trade for free for the first month on the exchange and can utilize the Neuron wallet to track the status of their portfolio in any selected fiat currency and safely store their assets.
3. Square’s Cash App
This trading app is another innovation of Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey. It is one of the latest FinTech solutions to scale its services to include crypto offerings within its portfolio. Going by Q1 stats, the move to integrate Bitcoin purchases appears to have been popular amongst the platform users. Bitcoin accounted for more than half of Cash App’s revenue in Q1 by recording $306 million out of the total $528 million. The platform has since gone ahead to introduce advanced BTC buying features such as automatic purchases.
PayPal is also set to join this bandwagon according to rumors of partnership with Paxos Crypto Brokerage. The global payments juggernaut will reportedly use Paxos API’s to offer crypto buying and selling services, joining Square and Robinhood which moved in this direction as early as 2018. A recent letter to the European commission further hints into this position given PayPal’s clarification that it still holds ambitions in crypto services despite leaving Facebook’s Libra association.
OKEx prides itself as a leading one-stop crypto exchange whose range of services include buying and selling crypto assets. Just like Binance, the exchange also features advanced market tools such as options, futures and perpetual swaps based on crypto assets. Given the market competition, OKEx has proven to be among the fundamental crypto exchanges, especially in crypto derivatives. When it comes to fiat-to-crypto gateways, this exchange has also made an extra effort to partner with P2P marketplace niche providers such as Paxful, Koinal and Xanpool.
5. XPOS Devices
These point-of-sale (PoS) devices have been developed by Singapore-based blockchain firm, Pundi X. They have since taken up the niche in off-ramp solutions by providing an avenue where clients can use their crypto assets to pay for products or services seamlessly. Some of the products offered in line with crypto payments include an XPASS card and XWallet. The former allows users to make crypto purchases in just one tap while the latter facilitates payments from the Xwallet mobile app.
In a recent highlight, Pundi X extended these services to PayPal clients after integrating its PoS with the international payment’s giant. This had been preceded by a twitter poll which saw most people vote in favor of a PayPal integration as opposed to WeChat, Alipay, GoPay and PayTM. Pundi X CEO has since expressed optimism in the milestone given PayPal’s massive market share,
“Combine PayPal’s massive user base with the fact that our XPOS® devices are now operating in 30+ markets globally and you could start seeing situations were dealing in crypto is as trouble-free as buying a bottle of water.”
The integration of fiat and crypto ecosystems began gradually with very low liquidity levels in initial years. Today, we are seeing markets breaking record-highs in weekly BTC transactions in regions no one would have anticipated. Africa and South America for instance have seen more of their population adopt crypto payments in recent months.
As a result, these markets are now more active with prospects looking for suitable solutions to convert their fiat to crypto or vice versa. Some of the gateways highlighted in this review would be an integral part of any anticipated progress in onboarding more digital asset users. While regulations may be a challenge, stakeholders can always opt for the most convenient platform in not only fees but also KYC favorability. The most optimal variant for this is peer-to-peer platforms like NeuronEx, the one which synthesizes all qualities of a regular exchange while making the actual money swap take place outside the organizational boundaries. That said, fiat-to-crypto gateways will undoubtedly define the pace at which more people are linked with crypto assets.