FinTech

A startup aiming to make cryptocurrency more accessible and useful through its ‘PayPal for crypto’ service has secured Financial Conduct Authority registration. 

Ramp was founded in 2017 by CEO Szymon Sypniewicz and CTO/CPO Przemek Kowalczyk to open up digital assets to more businesses and users.   

Until now, cryptocurrencies have largely been the reserve of enthusiasts, not everyday people, and have centred around crypto exchanges such as Coinbase and eToro.  

These services let customers exchange fiat money – such as euros, pounds sterling or dollars – for cryptocurrencies and other cryptoassets. However, they are built for users who want to speculate on the prices of cryptoassets and buy, hold and sell coins.   

This is an extremely narrow remit which Ramp says fails to address the potential and power of crypto.  

To solve this, Ramp has built a non-custodial, full-stack payment infrastructure. Through its software development kit (SDK), it says any brand or partner who wants to offer crypto-enabled services as part of their business model can do so easily and securely. 

Former Twilio exec joins crypto tech firm MoonPay

Now Ramp Swaps Limited – part of the Ramp Group – has become one of only nine companies, and the first to offer on-ramping, to be registered with the FCA as a cryptoasset firm.   

Under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017, firms carrying out specific cryptoasset activities in the UK have to be registered with the FCA. As part of this registration process, companies need to provide evidence of how they run and structure their business, how they market their products, and namely how they protect their clients and customers from financial threat and risk.  

Only companies that pass the FCA’s fit and proper assessment are placed on the list of registered cryptoasset firms.  

Over the past year, the group has raised £7.2 million in funding, has grown 50% month-by-month and doubled its team.  

Investors include NfX, Galaxy Digital, Seedcamp, firstminute capital and Fabric Ventures, as well as Mozilla, plus notable business angels associated with Coinbase (Balaji S. Srinivasan), Wise (Taavet Hinrikus), Dapper Labs (Roham Gharegozlou), IKEA (Bartek Pucek) and many more entrepreneurs and executives from FinTech and crypto industries. 

The company has recently partnered with more than 200 developers, including Mozilla, Opera Browser, Dapper Labs (the company behind NBA Top Shot and the new Flow blockchain), and top crypto and DeFi apps like Aave, Argent and Zerion.  

“Regulations play a vital role in both protecting us, our users and financial markets today, but also in building a world where everyone is given the opportunity to experience the many benefits that come from advanced and decentralised financial technologies,” said Ramp co-founder and CEO Sypniewicz.  

“From day one we’ve put regulation at the heart of what we do. We’ve employed the best counsels, legal firms and compliance professionals to ensure we’re going above and beyond and I feel our landmark registrations in recent years are a sign we’re achieving this goal.   

“Leading the industry in both regulatory compliance and technical innovation, we continue to connect users from traditional finance to the new, decentralised and open finance future and, by building great technology that solves compliance challenges, our customers, and our customers customers can get on with enjoying all the myriad ways in which cryptoassets are evolving.”   

Over the past two years, Ramp has been acquiring both partners implementing Ramp in their apps and wallets, and individual users, using the platform directly to exchange fiat and cryptocurrencies.  

It says it has also been working with Alior Bank to learn the ropes of cooperating with a major bank. 

Cryptocurrency