The crypto industry has reason to rejoice. Prices have stabilized relatively.
Now, crypto fans and admirers seem to be turning their attention to how to facilitate and expand the adoption of digital currencies by the general public. Their selling point is to explain that crypto can be used in everyday life.
A few months ago, this mission would have been daunting because for many people, crypto was mainly all about speculation and also a tool used by criminals to launder money or for scams.
But the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 showed other use cases of crypto, including humanitarian aid.
And everything suggests that the big maneuvers are about to start.
‘Bringing Crypto Mainstream’
In any case, Bolt, a fintech offering a one-click checkout payment service has just acquired crypto-service company Wyre.
This transaction will expand the payment options offered by merchants. The idea is to allow them to give their customers the choice to pay in crypto.
The transaction amount is $1.5 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal, which is a record in the crypto industry. The two companies didn’t disclose the price.
The acquisition, which is anticipated to close later in 2022, comes amid growing demand for purchasing goods and services with cryptocurrency and the opportunity of Web3 — the new iteration of internet — the companies claim in their press release.
By joining forces, Bolt and Wyre commit to build commerce solutions for mainstream, secure cryptocurrency usage for millions of shoppers, retailers, and developers.
“This acquisition will fast-track our efforts to democratize commerce — and it will serve as a powerful proof point for the union of cryptocurrency and commerce,” Ryan Breslow, founder and executive chairman of Bolt, said.
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“This acquisition will pave the way for seamless, secure crypto transactions, and NFT enablement for our retailers. Both consumers and retailers will benefit from a friction-free buying experience that supports crypto and NFT natively,” Maju Kuruvilla, CEO of Bolt, claimed. “We’re excited about our joint mission of bringing crypto mainstream.”
Bolt offers its services to merchants in many sectors such as automotive, jewelry and watches, household, pets and clothing. Forever21 is one of the popular brands accepting its services.
Ioannis Giannaros, co-founder and CEO of Wyre, summarized the transaction in one sentence: “Simply put, we want to allow every retailer to transact easily in cryptocurrency, removing long-standing barriers.”
Wyre said it has processed over $10B in payments since inception. The company supports customers in over 100 countries worldwide. “Checkout”, Wyre’s flagship product, is a fiat-to-crypto gateway.
The service can facilitate payments tied to seven different blockchains and more than 40 tokens.
To successfully increase crypto payouts while shopping, Bolt will need to convince merchants to accept its offer. It’s not going to be easy because the competition is fierce with PayPal (PYPL) – Get PayPal Holdings, Inc. Report and Apple Pay (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report for example. Unlike these two rivals, Bolt is still unknown and cannot enjoy the advantage of a household name.
Besides this acquisition, the crypto world has seemed to rebel against what it calls “the enemies.” It was billionaire Peter Thiel, a friend of Elon Musk with whom they co-founded PayPal, who is leading the charge.
At the 2022 Bitcoin Conference in Miami, Thiel just presented a slideshow featuring his criticisms of opinion leaders in finance who he believes want to stop cryptocurrencies from prospering. In this slideshow, he presented the legendary investor Warren Buffett as the number one enemy of bitcoin.
““Enemy No. 1,” Thiel told to a booing Miami crowd, is “the sociopathic grandpa from Omaha.” Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) – Get Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class A Report, Warren Buffett’s conglomerate, has its headquarters in Omaha, Neb.
Thiel also attacked Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) – Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report, and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock (BLK) – Get BlackRock, Inc. Report. The billionaire notably unrolled graphs and images with negative comments of the two financiers on bitcoin. These images were accompanied by the word “gerontocracy.”
Thiel is a big investor in crypto and especially in bitcoin via venture firm Founders Fund.