Stablecoins: Xapo Bank Expands Stablecoin Payment Rails, Becoming “First” Licensed Bank To Enable Tether Deposits, Withdrawals

Xapo Bank, a licensed private bank that aims to combine traditional banking with access to Bitcoin and stablecoins, claims to have become the first bank in the world to integrate Tether (USDT) payment rails. Xapo Bank is regulated and based in Gibraltar. Earlier this year, Xapo announced that it was supporting USDC – the dollar based stablecoin issued by Circle.

Xapo says it is beginning with a phased rollout; the payment rails will be fully available to all members by the end of the month.

Building on its existing USDC rails that were launched in March, the bank is now “enabling members to leverage the world’s most widely adopted stablecoin for payments as an alternative to time consuming and costly SWIFT rails.”

With a market cap of $82 billion, USDT is currently the largest dollar stablecoin by market cap ahead of competitor USDC.

In general, stablecoins can provide an efficient method of processing value by leveraging distributed ledger technology. In certain economies, stablecoins can also provide a hedge against accelerated inflation.

Xapo Bank reports that it has “seen a strong appetite for the efficiency of stablecoin deposits and withdrawals amongst its members, many of whom are based in emerging markets.”

Since enabling USDC deposits in November, it reports that it “has received $48 Million in USDC deposits and enabled $4.5M in USDC withdrawals since the function went live in March.”

It has also experienced “a 19% increase in member onboarding requests since the USDC withdrawal function went live in March.”

By allowing members to deposit and withdraw using USDT with no fees charged, Xapo Bank is bringing “its 4.1% annual interest rate return on deposits to the attention of a new cohort of potential members who are looking for an alternative to SWIFT payments.”

Similarly to its USDC offering, Xapo Bank is “offering a 1:1 conversion rate from USDT to USD.”

All USDT deposits “received by Xapo Bank are automatically converted to USD, meaning that members can benefit from a 4.1% annual interest rate on USD deposits.”

A fully licensed and regulated bank, Xapo Bank is “a member of the Gibraltar Deposit Guarantee Scheme, meaning that Xapo Bank guarantees its members’ USD deposits up to the US dollar equivalent of €100,000.”

Xapo Bank does “not take any risks with deposits received using USDT. All such deposits are automatically converted to USD and deposited into the member’s account.”

Unlike traditional banks, Xapo Bank does “not lend and therefore does not rely on fractional reserve banking to make money as its core business model.” Instead, it has “all its customers’ funds in reserve and invested in short term liquid assets in order to pass the benefit of that interest earned, to its customers.”

Seamus Rocca, CEO of Xapo Bank said:

“Xapo Bank is the only regulated bank in the world which offers a USD account with stablecoin rails. This is a unique offering that combines the compliance and safety of a traditional bank, with the speed, efficiency and breadth of use of USDT. By growing our payment rail options, we are committed to eliminating the timely and often expensive deposit and withdrawal processes into regular banks. We are empowering our members to grow their wealth and access and spend it in a seamless manner.”

Xapo Bank claims it is constantly “striving to grow its payment rails options, offering members additional currency choices managed with the security of a fully-regulated Bank.”

Reflecting this, in addition to the USDC and USDT payment rails, Xapo Bank previously integrated “with the Faster Payment System (FPS) to activate support for GBP settlement for account deposits and withdrawals.”

It also “announced an integration with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, in collaboration with Lightspark, earlier this month.”

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