MoneyGram Introduces Crypto-to-Cash Service on the Stellar Network

MoneyGram, which claims to be an international “leader” in the evolution of digital P2P payments, and the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of Stellar, an open-source public blockchain that allows money to be tokenized and transferred globally, recently announced the initial roll-out of a “first-of-its-kind” global on/off-ramp service for digital wallets “to increase the utility of digital assets by creating a bridge between cash and cryptocurrencies.”

The service, a result of the partnership between MoneyGram and SDF announced in October 2021, is now “available in a number of key remittance markets, including Canada, Kenya, Philippines and the U.S. for the first wave of users, with global cash-out functionality expected to be available by the end of June 2022.”

Powered by the Stellar blockchain and Stellar-enabled digital wallets, MoneyGram’s retail agent network, and Circle‘s USD Coin (USDC), a fully-reserved dollar digital currency, the service “provides cash users access to the world of cryptocurrency via any participating MoneyGram location.”

This service is “a monumental step towards bridging the gap between physical and digital currencies in a way that has not been done before at scale.”

As it develops, this solution will “pave the way for blockchain technology to further financial inclusion, creating fluidity between cash and crypto so more people can benefit from the digital economy.”

To support adoption, MoneyGram will “offer this as a zero-fee service for the first 12 months.”

Alex Holmes, MoneyGram Chairman and CEO, said:

“We’re thrilled to work alongside the Stellar Development Foundation on this important initiative to bring more opportunities to consumers around the world by making the worlds of crypto and local fiat currency compatible,”

Holmes added:

“At MoneyGram, we’re on a mission to deliver innovative financial solutions that connect the world’s communities, and the initial launch of this service is another important milestone on our journey. It’s especially exciting to launch this service ahead of schedule due to the strong collaboration of our technology teams, and we look forward to further collaboration with SDF as we work on uncovering new ways to utilize blockchain to further streamline cross-border payments.”

The partnership focuses on “delivering a service that revolutionizes the settlement process.”

For the first time, settlement with MoneyGram will “occur in near-real-time using USDC, one of the world’s fastest growing dollar digital currencies.”

This enables “an accelerated collection of funds, improving efficiencies and reducing risks.”

Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation, remarked:

“A much-needed solution to the cash-to-crypto on/off-ramp problem is here. Today, almost 2 billion people rely on cash for their livelihood, with no options to access the digital economy. At the same time, a persistent pain point for crypto-native users is off-ramping cryptocurrency quickly and reliably. The groundbreaking nature of this service is how it solves problems for a range of users with varying needs around the world.”

With the launch of this service, digital wallet users can now “move seamlessly from cash to cryptocurrency, to cash again — all without requiring a bank account or credit card.”

Consumers can now “go into a MoneyGram location to either load their digital wallets to access the digital economy, or cash-out their digital currencies to increase the utility of their holdings.”

Users of the Stellar-connected digital wallets Vibrant and LOBSTR, with more wallets expected to be added soon, “can now access this service at MoneyGram’s participating international retail locations.”

This service also “creates a developer platform that will allow more businesses within the Stellar ecosystem and beyond, including wallets and service providers, to expand the functionality and reach of MoneyGram’s integration with the Stellar network.”

For example, Elliptic, a global leader in crypto asset risk management, will “provide MoneyGram with robust blockchain analytics solutions, and Wyre, a leading provider of blockchain payments APIs, will help other wallets, starting with Airtm, a digital dollar account, integrate with the MoneyGram service.”

MoneyGram will “expand access to the cash-in service into seven more countries by the end of June, at which point cash-out functionality will also be available globally, where permitted by law.”

As covered, MoneyGram claims it is “leading the evolution of digital P2P payments.”

With a purpose-driven strategy to mobilize the movement of money, a strong culture of fintech innovation, and leading customer-centric capabilities, MoneyGram has “grown to serve nearly 150 million people around the world over the last five years.”

The company “leverages its modern, mobile, and API-driven platform and collaborates with the world’s leading brands to serve consumers through MoneyGram Online (MGO), its direct-to-consumer digital business, its global retail network and its emerging embedded finance business for enterprise customers, MoneyGram as a Service.”

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