A startup aiming to make cryptocurrency more accessible and useful through its ‘PayPal for crypto’ service has raised £7.2 million.
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 crypto assets. However, they are built for users who want to speculate on the prices of crypto assets 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.
Ramp’s own certifications and licences are used. It says that in the same way that PayPal revolutionised eCommerce and online payments by allowing any website, app or service to embed payment infrastructure into their existing systems, Ramp is set to have the same impact for crypto assets.
Ramp is registered with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a cryptoasset business and is registered as an open banking business with The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF).
The company has already partnered with more than 200 developers, including Mozilla, Opera Labs, Dapper Labs (the company behind NBA Top Shot and the new Flow blockchain), Sorare and top crypto and DeFi apps like Aave, Argent and Zerion.
The seed round was led by NfX with Galaxy Digital. It also saw participation from returning investors 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 more entrepreneurs and executives from fintech and crypto industries.
It will use the funding to further expand this network of bigger and better partners; reach more brands and make crypto less niche and exclusive. This includes tripling the team by the end of 2021, setting up headquarters in new regions, and developing the platform further.
“Few things are as impactful on economic growth, the human effort, and technological innovation as financial services,” said CEO Sypniewicz.
“If we’re to continue to grow as a society, we need to make sure our financial systems are following suit.
“Crypto is one of the most promising technological frontiers for advancing finance and payments. For years however, the industry was focused on speculation, creating products like crypto exchanges.
“Unlocking crypto’s use cases seemed like an afterthought. Now we feel it’s time for the industry to start delivering useful applications and Ramp is here to make the mainstream transition to crypto much easier.”
Morgan Beller, General Partner at NfX, added: “It’s a matter of when, not if, non-crypto-native users are going to use crypto-native products. The question of ‘when’ depends on usability.
“To date, crypto products have had a high barrier to entry – you have to basically go through a Rube Goldberg machine to use many products. Mainstream users are not going to do this.
“That’s what excited us about Ramp. Ramp dramatically reduces the crypto barrier to entry for both non-crypto-native users and non-crypto native developers.
“We see Ramp, therefore, helping to meaningfully accelerate crypto adoption through enabling mainstream use cases.”Cryptocurrency