Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October, 2019 at 8:46 am by Christian Keszthelyi
Although the notion of cryptocurrency wallet usually comes with intangible solutions of mobile apps and QR codes — while hardware and paper-based wallets are also emerging fast — such tech is often hard to grasp for the everyday user. For this very reason, Crypto.com has linked up its crypto wallet with Visa cards, spearheading the popularisation of cryptocurrencies. Kris Marszalek, Cofounder and CEO of Crypto.com, tells Business Malta about their presence in Malta and plans to expand into Europe from the tiny Mediterranean island, after having gained ground in the United States and Singapore.
Crypto.com is a Visa Program Manager and they issue MCO Visa Cards to customers around the world by partnering with local card issuers — such as collaborating with Metropolitan Commercial Bank in the United States to make cards available to its customers. The business claims to have over 1 million users — of whom not all are cardholders —, and with cards being available to users in Singapore and across the United States, the firm’s eyes are now set on Europe.
“Our vision is ‘cryptocurrency in every wallet’ and to achieve that we started with a financial product the average consumer is most familiar with; the Visa card,” Kris Marszalek, Cofounder and CEO of Crypto.com, tells Business Malta. “The card is linked to a wallet where you can not only buy, exchange, sell or track cryptocurrencies, but you can also satisfy all your banking needs with products that cover savings, investments, and loans. Users can easily convert their crypto to fiat within the wallet and spend it through the MCO Visa Card anywhere Visa is accepted,” the cofounder CEO adds.
The crafted metal card sports no periodical or delivery fee at the time of the publication of the present article. The service offers up to 5% cashback on all spending — local or overseas — up to 100% purchase reimbursement for Spotify and Netflix, and up to 10% purchase rebate on Airbnb and Expedia, according to the company.
Furthermore, the business says that holders of their Visa cards are entitled to free and unlimited airport lounge access, to free ATM monthly withdrawal up to US$1,000 and can earn up to 8% per annum on their crypto investments.
“With this bridge between the fiat and crypto worlds, crypto will finally be able to make an actual impact for everyday consumers in the real world.”
“All in all, we see ourselves as a ‘crypto super app’ that has every aspect relating to crypto covered, at the same time making it easy and not intimidating to people who are new to crypto. Every product we build is designed to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency. With this bridge between the fiat and crypto worlds, crypto will finally be able to make an actual impact for everyday consumers in the real world,” adds Mr Marszalek.
Crypto with KYC
Crypto.com says it is committed to compliance, and as such, they follow know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) guidelines; highly unlikely practices for a vertical that initially used to be stigmatised for its anonymity, as well as for shadow economy having been among the early adopters of Bitcoin — the very first cryptocurrency. Users of Crypto.com services, however, are required to identify themselves upon registration, and they are verified before gaining access to their accounts.
“As a fintech company, we enter markets in a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction process, which means that we must have a deep level of understanding of compliance with each jurisdiction’s local rules and regulations,” the cofounder CEO says.
The company has ISO27001:2013, PCI:DSS 3.2.1, Level 1 and CCSS certifications. As the Mr Marszalek says, the company takes the highest measures to ensure that customers are exposed to top-notch data security and privacy standards. At the end of the day, the company’s services are trusted with the very finances of users.
“We do understand that privacy is of utmost importance to users, which is why Crypto.com is fully General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant, and that our KYC and AML processes have been reviewed by a Big Four* firm to ensure we comply with local rules and regulations. We only retain personal data for as long as necessary, and users also have the option to request us to delete all their data if desired,” Mr Marszalek says.
The company has an office in Malta and are currently in the process of being licensed here. “We are looking to expand our team here next year to focus on compliance and security efforts, as we are gearing up for expansion to Europe. This will be an area that can be spearheaded out of Malta,” Mr Marszelek tells BM.
Malta — that internationally markets itself as the “blockchain island” — is widely considered to have a well-established and thriving technology ecosystem. Having passed blockchain and distributed ledger technologies legislation roughly a year ago, Malta is often seen as a key player in the development of crypto and DLT solutions in the European Union, as well as globally.
“The cryptocurrency industry is going to be tightly regulated in the near future, so there’s plenty of opportunities in compliance and regulatory roles in this space. There is also a tremendous demand for cybersecurity professionals. Crypto.com is committed to working with local institutions to drive education efforts to help nurture local talent and allow it to thrive in the blockchain space,” the cofounder CEO says.
“We believe in giving people the ability to regain control of their money, data and identity via the power of blockchain technology. In order to help mass consumers gain access to crypto, we work hard to ensure our products are fully compliant in each market, which is where the KYC and AML processes come in,” Mr Marszalek underscores.
*EDITORIAL NOTE: On the query of Business Malta, Crypto.com did not disclose whether it is was Deloitte, EY, KPMG or PwC that reviewed its KYC and AML processes as the official public announcement has not yet taken place.