BRD, a mobile wallet company, announced today that US customers are now able to purchase bitcoin, ethereum, and Dai using bank transfers. This feature is supported through a partnership with Wyre, a blockchain payments provider, and over 1,700 US banks.
Company representative Spencer Chen expects this partnership and product launch to close the divide between wallets and exchanges, and allow the company to become a player in the market for cryptocurrency entry.
“We’re more competitive with Coinbase than ever,” he told CoinDesk.
The announcement comes amid a period of growth for the wallet provider, which completed a $15 million round of series B funding in 2018. Since the start of 2019, BRD saw a doubling of transactions performed on its platform, a tripling of the number of existing, free users to premium customers, and the expansion to 170 countries.
BRD showed early promise in the field. In 2017, it received $32 million in an ICO, among the top 40 launches at the time. The upstart also saw early backing by SBI Holdings, a well-regarded Japanese venture capital fund. Despite BRD’s impressive funding line, the company still has negative cash flow.
“Profitability has not been a concern,” explained Chen. “Our investment roadmap is to first bring more banking services to the crypoto world, more mobile capabilities… and expand geographically.”
Chen said as a decentralized company, their products are easier to scale internationally. He also said the partnership with Wyre will expand the company’s footprint in the U.S., already BRD’s largest market.
The partnership with Wyre was forged six months ago, based on the young company’s tenacity.
“Wyre has a vision of being Stripe for crypto,” Chen said. Forgoing a retail presence, Wyre is able to dedicate its attention to powering the ecosystem’s infrastructure and making consumer apps work, instead of competing, he said. Founded in 2013, Wyre has managed $3.5 billion in cryptocurrency assets and completed over $1 billion in commercial FX payments.
BRD itself oversees, without taking custody, over $6 billion in crypto assets for two million customers, making it the "most trusted" mobile wallet available, according to a company statement. Though, “We’re not a monolith,” Chen said, the company is still looking for growth opportunities.
With the new bank transfer feature existing BRD users will be able to avoid traditionally high prices to convert their assets, and those looking to enter the space will have another affordable option to consider. Linking accounts will reportedly take five minutes.
“We’ve consistently heard from US customers about the frustrations regarding the lack of innovation and simplification from current market leaders, namely Coinbase,” said Aaron Lasher, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder of BRD. “While more well-funded players have become more custodial and centralized, BRD has remained unwavering in its mission to bring the core value of the blockchain to the masses: Decentralized and Inclusive.”
“There are a lot of young players in the ecosystem. It’s a relatively young industry,” Chen said.
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