New York-based bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading platform Voyager announced today the acquisition of Coinify, a cryptocurrency payment platform with customers in over 150 countries, for $85 million. But their focus on stablecoins instead of Bitcoin might be a hurdle long term.
Coinify allows merchants to accept bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in their businesses while receiving payouts in fiat currencies. The payments platform supports more than 20 national currencies and is available in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
Voyager is breaking into digital payments through the acquisition, something its co-founder and CEO Stephen Ehrlich told Forbes “is the next frontier.” The trading company plans to integrate its systems with Coinify’s platform to allow traders to make and receive payments directly through their digital accounts. Voyager aims to cut out fees associated with traditional payment infrastructures and on-chain transactions.
“We believe the USDC stablecoin is the best stablecoin on the market and that customers want to receive payments in that,” Ehrlich said. “We see this vision of payments being the next frontier on top of trading and investing.”
Payments, the medium of exchange role of a currency, follow the store of value role as adoption of a currency increases. But since a stablecoin is pegged to the dollar, there is arguably little benefit added to transacting with and holding it, besides easier and potentially cheaper cross-border payments.
When Strike, which leverages dollars and the Bitcoin Lightning Network to allow instant and cheap payment transfers worldwide without intermediaries, started implementing its services in El Salvador, it had to use a stablecoin to achieve basic functionality.
But after El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender, Strike started working towards making the country’s biggest banks interoperable on Lightning. Strike founder Jack Mallers said the resulting system would replace the equivalent of automated clearing houses in the U.S. with the Lightning Network.
Although stablecoins might bring short-term opportunities to solve some of the banking system’s inefficiencies and setbacks, only Bitcoin can deploy permanent changes and benefits. Moreover, as bitcoin progresses in its path to monetization, it is set to keep growing in purchasing power against fiat currencies.
Companies, developers, and users alike have the opportunity to embark early on the financial revolution started by Bitcoin by leveraging the Lightning Network. The second-layer protocol enables cheap, fast, and private payments to be made with the world’s hardest money. The sooner merchants start accepting and holding BTC, the more they will be able to reap the benefits of Bitcoin’s eventual full monetization.