Cryptopay - the UK's answer to Circle

Monday 17 August 2015

In my continuing quest to find the best bitcoin businesses in the UK, I talk to - a company that's about the closest thing we have to Circle here.

Bitcoin in the UK is a odd game. As I've remarked many times before, the banks just don't seem to have caught up with the government's pro-crypto stance. That's why it surprised me when I heard about Cryptopay - an outfit that seems to be doing for the UK what Coinbase or Circle are doing in the US.

Read also: What's going on with the UK and bitcoin?

White cliffsAt least getting money in and out is going to get easier...

What are the challenges of operating in the UK?

Banking, banking and once again banking. We are constantly working on different banking options, talking with banks and emoney companies. There are no other issues here in the UK. If you look at the US – there’s regulation in each state, issues with local regulations and banking problems as well. On the contrary, the UK is a better place to run a bitcoin business, we’ve even managed to get a merchant account. Standard banking is the only issue.

The unhelpful stance of the banks means that ‘true’ exchanges tend to struggle in the UK, but there are various other ways of buying and selling bitcoins P2P. How does CryptoPay differ from these?

We are not the ‘true’ exchange - we do not match orders. We are a wallet and a brokerage – a place where you trade, store and manage your bitcoins. On most of the exchanges and p2p marketplaces people just trade coins, but store them in their own wallet. With Cryptopay, most of the buyers and sellers store bitcoins and use their Cryptopay wallet to send and manage their funds. Not only bitcoins, but fiat currency as well.

What do you think the critical factor or market is to drive forward bitcoin adoption?

1. We are giving merchants an easy way to accept bitcoins;
2. We are giving people the easiest and fastest way to purchase bitcoins and pay merchants.

In terms of a critical factor or market, things will change when:

1. Really large merchants start accepting bitcoins
2. There will be an easy tool for cheap cross-border payments

We are working on both of these, with a focus on the second.

What is your target customer base?

We have several customer groups. The first and the biggest is bitcoin professionals who are buying and selling bitcoins every day and need a reliable service at reasonable spot price.

Our second type of user are people who are switching to bitcoins for everyday use. We are providing them with all the necessary services to manage their bitcoin holdings - trade, store and spend bitcoins easily.
Additionally, we are working on adding a Debit Card funding option to drive adoption among first-time users who are using only credit cards.

How does your credit card work, and how do you maintain privacy and meet KYC regulations?

We’ve got an issuing bank as our partner and we are offering our clients a VISA debit card, which can be topped up using funds at Cryptopay account. Funding can be in bitcoins or British pounds or Euros. The top-up is instant and can be done any time. So, let’s say miners can sell and cash out the mining revenue in seconds at their nearest ATM.

We keep client data safe and secured, encrypted on our servers, and share the data only for the purpose of KYC/AML. We are compliant with the Data Protection Act 1999 and registered with ICO. Our KYC involves a very easy process – we require our customers simply to upload proof of ID and proof of address documents. No lengthy forms any more!

What future developments do you have in the pipeline?

We tend to add more services based on customer feedback. One of the services we are working on is more sophisticated payments, a credit card deposit option and enhanced support. We’ve got many first-time users and we spend a lot of time talking with them, educating them and explaining how they can benefit by using bitcoins.

In the long-term perspective, we are building an ecosystem of financial services. The first segment is obviously payments. Integrating 3rd party providers, we are giving our customers the best payment experience. The next step would be lending and savings products. Imagine, users would be able to invest in products like BitLending club and BTC jam and manage them in a single place - their Cryptopay account.

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