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Wirex taps ZK-proofs for noncustodial crypto debit card issuance

Wirex first launched its crypto debit card in 2015 and currently claims over six million customers.

Crypto payment service provider Wirex announced the launch of a zero-knowledge proof (ZK-proof)-based noncustodial crypto debit card service called W-Pay on Oct. 3.

Wirex’s new decentralized solution utilizes zero-knowledge technology and is built on Polygon’s Chain Development Kit (CDK), promising increased scalability and security. Polygon’s CDK has been built with ZK-proofs in focus, enabling companies and users to develop their own ZK-powered layer-2 rail.

ZK-proofs-based scalability solution has become quite popular in the crypto space as the zero-knowledge protocol allows one party to convince another party that something is true without disclosing anything other than the fact that the claim in question is true. Over time, Ethreum and the likes of Polygon have seen the most development related to ZK-proofs.

W-Pay offers a range of ground-breaking features that enable non-custodial wallets and decentralized applications (dApps) to issue non-custodial crypto debit cards. The firm claimed that the decentralized approach would eliminate any third-party risks and ensure that account owners retain sole control over their money.

Some of the key features of W-Pay include swift and secure transactions through the integration of Zero-Knowledge technology as well as Ethereum virtual machine (EVM) compatibility and Account Abstraction (AA), a feature that streamlines transaction processes by eliminating inherent complexities.

Related: Are ZK-proofs the answer to Bitcoin’s Ordinal and BRC-20 problem?

The ZK proofs-based decentralized solution enables card transactions up to a predetermined limit and also supports the integration of decentralized applications (dApps) and non-custodial wallets with conventional payment rails. The firm said that W-Pay will usher in a new era of on-chain card payment services.

Wirex created the first payment card with crypto functionality in 2015, enabling users to interchangeably utilize digital and fiat money in daily transactions. Wirex claims to have a customer base of over six million and is a principal member of Visa and Mastercard.

The recent zk-proofs-based decentralized solution from Wirex comes amid difficulties with its card partner UAB PayrNet. Lithuania’s central bank revoked the license of UAB PayrNet in June, forcing the company to shutter its services in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Wirex has not yet responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comments.

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Avalanche blockchain now accessible to 4.5M users across Wirex payment ecosystem

Users can spend AVAX, in addition to 61 crypto and traditional currencies on Wirex once linked up to a crypto-enabled debit card.

Wirex, a digital payment platform that enables users to spend 62 fiat and cryptocurrencies at more than 61 million locations worldwide via the Wirex platform, announced the integration of Avalanche (AVAX) into its ecosystem on Monday. With the move, users can receive, send, store, and exchange AVAX tokens, and add custom tokens via the Avalanche blockchain. The company plans to onboard multiple AVAX based tokens over the next few months.

In addition, Wirex users will be able to earn 20% in annual interest on AVAX through the firm's decentralized finance savings product, X-Accounts. The company has over 4.5 million users in more than 120 countries across its app, wallet, and payment platforms. 

Regarding the development, John Wu, president of Ava Labs, the creator of the AVAX blockchain, said "Wirex is moving fast to make digital assets and the innovation happening on public blockchains more accessible to the masses."

Meanwhile, Wirex CEO and co-founder Pavel Matveev said the addition of AVAX is "helping to develop use cases for the Wirex ecosystem," especially around improving blockchain accessibility. 

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Wirex claims to have developed the world's first crypto-enabled payment card in 2015. In January, the company expanded to the U.S. and onboarded the Polygon, BNB Chain, and Fantom blockchains at around the same time. Wirex also has its own native utility token, WXT, and a crypto reward program that gives cardholders up to 2% back in WXT for every transaction they make. The company has processed more than $5 billion worth of transactions since 2014.

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Wirex halts UK signups after consultation with financial regulator

Wirex has temporarily halted signing up new U.K. customers following what it called “constructive dialogue” with the Financial Conduct Authority.

London-based cryptocurrency and fintech firm Wirex has announced that it will no longer take on new U.K.-based customers following discussions with the jurisdictional regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

The decision to temporarily halt U.K. sign-ups was apparently voluntary, according to a press release posted by Wirex on March 24, however, it did follow hot on the heels of “constructive dialogue” with the FCA.

From March 25 onwards, U.K. residents will no longer be allowed to sign up for Wirex’s services. Moving forward, Wirex will dedicate attention and resources to strengthening its 5AMLD (Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive) compliance protocols in line with the latest guidelines laid down by the FCA, the firm announced.

The FCA announced its intention to ban all cryptocurrency derivatives trading in October 2020. By January the ban had gone into effect, and its impact was soon felt as cryptocurrency derivatices exchanges began to close down services for U.K. customers.

Wirex co-founder and CEO Pavel Mateev said the FCA had made suggestions on how the firm could update its operational procedures:

“The FCA have, in dialogue with us, made suggestions on how we can implement changes to our operational procedures, which we welcome and intend to follow [...] We fully endorse the Khalifa Fintech Review findings about growing the UK-based fintech ecosystem and see ourselves as an integral partner in achieving this.”

New U.K. residents who try to sign up will be added to a waiting list for the time being, the firm stated. Wirex claims to have 3.5 million registered users around the world, and offers access to over 150 different currencies, both crypto and fiat, through its app and Mastercard-powered debit card.

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