MoneyGram Announces 2024 Launch of Non-Custodial Wallet in Crypto Expansion
Global payments giant MoneyGram has unveiled plans to introduce a non-custodial wallet in the first quarter of 2024, as revealed by CEO Alex Holmes during the Stellar Development Foundation’s annual Meridian conference. Developed in collaboration with Cheesecake Labs, this new wallet will leverage the Stellar network and MoneyGram’s fiat on and off-ramp services to enable instant transactions, and it will be offered without fees until June 2024.
MoneyGram’s Crypto Endeavors
This strategic move marks MoneyGram’s latest foray into the cryptocurrency arena, building on its ongoing partnership with the Stellar blockchain. Over the past half-decade, the company has undergone a digital transformation, dispelling misconceptions that it might be eclipsed by cashless alternatives. Holmes emphasized this shift, stating, “We’re redefining paradigms around what it really means to move money between fiat currencies.”
Non-Custodial Wallet’s Features
The forthcoming non-custodial wallet will empower users to harness stablecoin technology for seamless conversions between fiat and digital currencies. This development underscores MoneyGram’s commitment to enhancing its focus on cross-border remittances and payment settlements. Users will gain the ability to transfer digital assets to other wallet users and conveniently convert these assets into fiat at any partnering MoneyGram facility. Furthermore, all wallet users will have access to comprehensive global compliance screening tools to facilitate safer and more secure digital asset transactions.
Holmes acknowledged that cryptocurrencies won’t entirely replace cash but can offer solutions to specific financial challenges. With this new wallet, users will have the flexibility to deposit cash and retain funds as USDC before deciding when to transition them into another currency. This feature could prove valuable for individuals seeking to safeguard their finances against inflation or currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Know-Your-Customer (KYC) Requirements
In contrast to many non-custodial wallets where users maintain complete control over their funds, MoneyGram’s product will impose full “know-your-customer” (KYC) requirements and will exclusively interface with other MoneyGram wallets. This design choice limits its compatibility with the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem but also provides a layer of protection against the regulatory scrutiny often associated with decentralized finance.
Expanding Digital Services
Since the launch of its digital asset-fiat on/off-ramp services in 2022, MoneyGram has progressively expanded these offerings to encompass eight digital wallets on the Stellar network. This expansion empowers consumers to cash out in more than 180 countries while facilitating cash deposits in over 30 countries across the globe.
Global Reach and Cost Efficiency
The initial availability of the non-custodial wallet will be confined to countries with digital KYC capabilities, which currently number around 40. Holmes articulated the vision, saying, “We’re turning MoneyGram into a global ATM concept using blockchain.”
MoneyGram asserts that the average cost to consumers globally stands at approximately 3%, a rate lower than the industry average of 6.3% reported by the World Bank. Digital transactions, notably, often dip below the 1% mark, positioning MoneyGram’s offering as a competitive player alongside other cryptocurrency-powered remittance services, such as Mexico-based Bitso.
Stellar Development Foundation’s Involvement
Notably, the Stellar Development Foundation, MoneyGram’s partner in the non-custodial wallet venture, holds a stake in the remittance company. In August of this year, the foundation acquired a minority stake in MoneyGram, securing a seat on MoneyGram’s board of directors.
MoneyGram’s forthcoming non-custodial wallet represents a significant stride in the company’s cryptocurrency journey, reaffirming its commitment to adapt and innovate in the rapidly evolving financial landscape. This move not only enhances the convenience of cross-border transactions but also underscores the company’s dedication to reducing the cost burden on consumers while adhering to regulatory compliance. As MoneyGram continues to evolve, its collaboration with the Stellar Development Foundation signals a promising partnership that could reshape the future of global payments and remittances.