Buying cryptocurrencies in America recently became easier with a new partnership between cash-to-cryptocurrency exchange network Coinme and international money transfer company MoneyGram.
We couldn’t resist not finding out what is going on under the hood concerning this partnership. We reached out to Neil Bergquist, the co-founder and CEO of Coinme for a unique perspective on that and other issues. Here is what he had to say.
Neil Bergquist Co-Founder and CEO of Coinme
Congratulations on your new partnership with MoneyGram! What’s next for Coinme?
Coinme is thrilled to launch our new partnership with MoneyGram that makes it easy to purchase bitcoin from Coinme with cash or sell bitcoin for cash pick up at 12,000 select MoneyGram locations in the U.S. From here, we will continue to expand our partnership with MoneyGram into international markets.
Coinme’s vision is to make it simple and easy for everyone to access cryptocurrencies using cash. We are currently the leading cryptocurrency cash exchange in the US and trusted by some of the world’s most recognized brands.
Coinme will continue to identify key partners to crypto-enable in our pursuit of building a global cash-to-crypto network.
What are the benefits of this new partnership?
With MoneyGram’s extensive payment network, the partnership will bring access to buy and sell bitcoin, and eventually other cryptocurrencies, to thousands of retail locations across the U.S. and, soon, other countries.
Even if someone is not tech-savvy or has never purchased bitcoin before, this partnership enables anyone to quickly, easily and securely buy and sell bitcoin with cash.
Additionally, by leveraging MoneyGram’s global scale, the price to now exchange bitcoin with cash is $2.50 with an additional $2 surcharge for Walmart locations. With the average Bitcoin ATM (cash->BTC) fee around 9%, this makes the partnership one of the most affordable ways to exchange bitcoin with cash in the US.
Coinme’s integration with MoneyGram broadens access to cryptocurrencies and gives everyday consumers a vital link to digital currencies. Bridging this gap ensures no one is left behind, and everyone is allowed to access bitcoin as a store of value and a better financial future.
Please, can you tell us how the partnership works?
Starting today, consumers can download the coinme mobile app, create an account and buy bitcoin with cash, and for the first time, sell bitcoin for cash via Coinme at 12,000 select MoneyGram locations beginning in the U.S. Other cryptocurrencies and locations will follow shortly.
To get started and find a participating MoneyGram location, download the Coinme app.
Are there new participants in the cryptocurrency industry? What are your thoughts on the massive interest in the cryptocurrency space?
This year PayPal and Venmo entered the crypto industry by enabling bitcoin exchange services. We see their entrance as a sign of the times that bitcoin is going mainstream. Coinme will continue to fuel financial institution adoption similar to MoneyGram as the Coinme API can crypto-enable any kiosk, PoS, ATM, cashier or website.
Surging demand for bitcoin is a key reason Coinme wants to make it easy and safe for everyday people to cash in and out of crypto. While many exchanges focus on institutional wall street adoption, Coinme is focused on Mainstreet retail adoption.
Cash-to-crypto onramps and crypto-to-cash offramps make crypto accessible, ubiquitous and convenient for everyone, including the unbanked and underbanked, and we’re making this possible through our partnerships with MoneyGram and Coinstar.
How are Coinme and Coinstar enabling cash purchases for cryptocurrencies?
Coinme’s bitcoin-enabled Coinstar kiosks make it easy for consumers to turn cash into bitcoin instantly. It’s a simple, comprehensive solution allowing for the seamless purchase of bitcoin, which is automatically loaded into the Coinme wallet.
Customers can purchase up to $2,500 per day and don’t have to input a wallet address at the kiosk, making the experience incredibly easy.
Coinme and Coinstar are also making it accessible and convenient for everyday people to purchase bitcoin. Coinme bitcoin-enables over 6,000 Coinstar kiosks across the nation, making them available to most of the U.S. population.
Additionally, Coinme is dedicated to regulatory rigor and compliance. Customers can feel safe transacting on our network that’s backed by our strict safety and security standards.
Is the new partnership going to increase Coinme’s geographical spread? Please tell us the reasons for your answer.
The MoneyGram partnership, combined with our Coinstar partnership, will bring us to a total of over 20,000 physical locations nationwide to buy and sell bitcoin using cash.
MoneyGram’s extensive network is increasing Coinme’s footprint in the U.S. and, soon, internationally. MoneyGram has 350,000 locations worldwide, and we will soon expand to a select number of them internationally.
What’s the next big thing for Coinme?
Stay tuned! We’ll be announcing new cryptocurrencies that will be added to the platform, the availability of more MoneyGram locations worldwide, as well as other exciting new products and partnerships.
How can such partnerships within and outside the global cryptocurrency industry be encouraged?
Partnerships can be encouraged within and outside the global cryptocurrency industry by demonstrating Coinme’s trusted and compliant crypto financial systems.
This provides the partner with the assurance that they can seamlessly integrate bitcoin into their existing offering with trust built in from day 0. Coinme’s proprietary API and collaborative partnerships with Coinstar and MoneyGram are a win-win for all parties.
We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and instead crypto enable existing infrastructure to bring crypto to the masses. We think this is the fastest path to cryptocurrency mass adoption.
Members of the cryptocurrency industry can encourage partnerships with traditional finance by investing in their compliance infrastructure and ensuring regulatory adherence with all local, state, and federal regulations.
It’s why Coinme is committed to regulatory rigor and compliance to ensure our customers are safe when transacting on our platform. Our partners trust in our robust compliance and security standards, and it’s one of the reasons they collaborate with Coinme.
What are the improvements that need to be made by cryptocurrency projects?
As more existing financial institutions begin to understand cryptocurrency, they are looking to Coinme to crypto-enable their infrastructure. It’s going to become important for the crypto industry to find similar ways to collaborate with traditional finance.
We’ll go a lot farther working together than with providing disparate solutions. The infrastructure is there, and Coinme is focused on crypto-enabling it.
Do you have any favorite cryptocurrency projects?
The bitcoin lightning network has great promise and will be widely considered a foundational piece of BTC infrastructure. At Coinme, since we’re building a global cash network for crypto, the ability for fast and inexpensive P2P bitcoin transactions enhances the value prop immensely for bitcoin’s vision to be a ‘peer-to-peer electronic cash system.’
Please, can you tell us more about your plans for 2021?
Yes! We’ll announce our international expansion with MoneyGram, the buying and selling of other cryptocurrencies and other exciting partnerships. We’ll be sure to let E-Crypto readers know!
What is the next phase of activities for Coinme?
We’re going to expand our partnership with MoneyGram to offer the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies for cash internationally. We’ll also work to build out more features in the Coinme App that will be launching alongside the availability of MoneyGram locations.
What are your plans for expansion into overseas markets?
Our partnership with MoneyGram will allow us to expand into other countries. MoneyGram has 350,000 locations worldwide, and we will expand the availability of this offering into a select number of them.
How has the journey been with regulators?
Our team works very hard to ensure that Coinme is fully regulatory compliant. We’re the largest licensed cryptocurrency cash exchange in the U.S.
The journey started back in early 2014 when we collaborate with the Washington State Dept of Financial Institutions to secure a virtual currency money transmitter license. This was the first license granted to a cash exchange.
We’ve been working with various state and federal requirements to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect consumers and provide a trusted and secure onramp to digital currency.
Are people abandoning fiat money and its variants for cryptocurrencies? Please, can you tell us the reasons for your answer?
I don’t think people are abandoning fiat entirely to just transact in crypto. Bitcoin has a complementary value proposition in comparison to the dollar.
I think the more significant trend will be people living multi-currency lives, where they will no longer store all of their ‘cash’ in one currency.
In terms of the worldwide adoption of bitcoin vs. the dollar, it’s feasible bitcoin will be held by more people than those who hold U.S. dollars.
Bitcoin is still in its infancy, but as the crypto industry drives awareness, education and access, the mass adoption of bitcoin will continue to occur faster than the adoption curves for other disruptive technologies.
How has your relationship been with the regulators?
Coinme has had a productive and collaborative relationship with regulators. We welcome collaboration with regulators to ensure that Coinme is fully compliant with state and federal regulations.
We focus on customer safety and security, and as an organization, we want to work with regulators to ensure our customers can transact safely on our network.
Are there any plans to include more cryptocurrency tokens on the Coinme platform?
Yes! Coinme is working to make the purchase and sale of other cryptocurrencies outside of bitcoin possible through our partnerships with Coinstar and MoneyGram. We’ll let you know as soon as that happens!
Are there any plans for entering the NFT space?
Coinme doesn’t have any plans for entering the NFT space at this time unless someone is interested in an NFT of the world’s first licensed bitcoin ATM!
What are the critical issues that the cryptocurrency industry needs to address?
Education and access are the two primary barriers to widespread bitcoin acceptance.
The majority of people in the United States have heard of bitcoin, but less than 20% own bitcoin. As people become more familiar with bitcoin’s utility, they will be much more likely to purchase it.
Bitcoin has value for everyone who cares about money. As that value is understood, adoption will follow, assuming they have access.
The industry also needs to provide more cash-to-crypto onramps and crypto-to-cash offramps. 24% of adults in the U.S. are either unbanked or underbanked and transact in cash or cash-like products.
This is why Coinme works with existing financial rails to give these people options to thrive in an increasingly connected world with digital currencies.
Please, can you tell us about your vision for Coinme?
Coinme wants to provide equal access to digital currencies and a better financial future by connecting the world through blockchain.
We will change the way money moves around the world and, in the process, remove the inefficiencies that are created by the current global financial system.