Online payment processor Stripe have continued their expansion into cryptocurrency, announcing via Twitter the launch of a suite of products to support crypto on the platform.
The products cover a wide range. For NFT marketplaces, buyers and sellers can be vetted via the Identity option, which allows users to verify the authenticity of identity forms from 33 countries. For non-NFT exchanges, more than 180 countries can deposit funds via several local payment methods, while the Connect product allows a payout of fiat to over 45 countries. Smooth APIs are provided ti help streamline the wallet experience, a common source of frustration among enthusiasts given the cumbersome nature of existing products.
While it amounts to only the latest in a series of moves from the payment giants to embrace crypto, it wasn’t always a match made in heaven for crypto and Stripe. Back in 2018, the Irish-American company ended support for Bitcoin, in what was seen as a blow to the industry at large. Stripe had originally facilitated crypto payments from 2014.
“Over the past year or two, as block size limits have been reached, Bitcoin has evolved to become better-suited to being an asset than being a means of exchange…this has led to Bitcoin becoming less useful for payments”, the blog post read.
Of course, the cryptocurrency landscape is unrecognisable today compared to 2018. In Stripe’s own words in a since-updated intro, “from new developments in blockchain infrastructure to widespread interest from major financial institutions, crypto is going mainstream”. The continued emergence of the Lightning Network is the most prominent aspect that springs to mind in payments, with the off-chain solution opening up myriad possibilities for the previously congested Bitcoin blockchain.
“Stripe now supports crypto businesses: exchanges, on-ramps, wallets, and NFT marketplaces. Not just pay-ins but payouts, KYC and identity verification, fraud prevention, and lots more” co-founder John Collison tweeted.
The effects on crypto fraud could end up being one of the most critical consequences of Stripe’s move. Stripe’s announcement outlines “fraud prevention and authorisation optimisation”, which should further deter some of the myriad scams that have plagued the space, as the nascent industry continues to grow from its roots as a wild-west, niche corner of the Internet.
It was also announced that Stripe are partnering with crypto exchange FTX, in order to streamline its identity compliance and fiat onboarding products.
It all amounts to just the latest signal that Bitcoin belongs in the mainstream, following an explosion into prominence during the pandemic over the last two years. Cryptocurrency is now a major asset class, and announcements such as this from Stripe further establish its legitimacy.