Tuesday dawned with news that stretches the utility of crypto-related rewards and payments in Latin America and Europe.
Fold, which offers Bitcoin rewards and no-fee bitcoin purchasing through payments partnerships, has placed a local office in El Salvador, to mark its entry into Latin America. Notably, El Salvador was the first country in the world to use bitcoin as a legal tender.
In Europe, meanwhile, Yield App—a digital wealth platform that touts the ability to “safely earn passive yield on your digital assets at the click of a button”—is partnering with Volt, a London-based real-time payments network. Through the integration of Volt’s pan-European open-banking solution, Yield App customers can buy cryptocurrency in real time directly with their bank.
Fold in El Salvador
El Salvador adopted bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021, becoming the first country to do so. The move drew widespread blowback, with critics citing bitcoin’s perceived instability and environmental impacts, among other concerns.
Of late, bitcoin transaction fees—the cost of processing by a miner and confirmation in a transaction—have risen sharply, causing pain for Salvadorans using the currency. As of Monday, transaction fees averaged $4.67 U.S. A week earlier, the average fee sat at $30.91 U.S.
Despite those challenges, Fold, which has processed more than $1 billion in volume, cast its move into the market as a display of confidence in the long-term growth of cryptocurrency in Latin America. The region has a significant population without access to traditional banks.
“We’re thrilled to be establishing an office and local team in El Salvador,” Will Reeves, Fold’s CEO, said in a statement released by the company. “As a country that has embraced bitcoin and has been a pioneer in adopting new monetary technology, we believe that El Salvador is the perfect place for Fold to expand its presence in Latin America.”
Yield App in Europe
The partnership between Yield App and Volt offers additional on-ramps to their solution for users who traffic in the British pound and the euro. The joining of forces is aided by the use of open-banking technology, giving customers an enhanced digital payment experience.
“It’s time for the industry to embrace open banking solutions so that retail crypto investors aren’t left outside in the cold,” Gero Piskov, Card and Payment Manager at Yield App, said in a prepared statement. “As advocates of the latest payment technologies, we’re thrilled to partner with Volt to provide our customers with fast, secure and seamless transactions directly from their banking app.”