SAN FRANCISCO, February 2, 2021
Uphold, the leading digital money platform, today announces its acquisition of Optimus Cards UK Limited, a leading debit and credit card issuer across the UK and Europe.
An Electronic Money Institution (EMI) regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Optimus acts as a primary card issuer (including FX multi-currency) and payments facilitator. Today, the firm serves customers in the fintech and Credit Union sectors offering a sophisticated platform that supports Apple Pay, Google Pay, Open Banking, as well as contactless and virtual cards, IBANs, UK sort-code and accounts, plus ‘cardless’ cash withdrawal.
‘We’re delighted to have acquired an issuer with such a technically-sophisticated platform and a full EMI license,’ said JP Thieriot, CEO of Uphold. ‘These attributes will shortly allow us to issue multi-asset, crypto-enabled debit cards across the UK and Europe. After passing the FCA’s rigorous ‘Change In Control’ process, we’re very excited to get to work and help scale Optimus’s thriving EMD agency business, which already supports several major crypto and fintech ecosystems.’
The acquisition comes after a spectacular year for Uphold during which the U.S. firm added more than 2 million customers and grew reserve assets to more than $1 billion. The Uphold platform aims to democratise investments by opening up access to traditionally hard-to-reach asset classes, including cryptos, precious metals, U.S. equities*, and even carbon credits. There are no minimum amounts, and users can trade seamlessly from Bitcoin to Tesla – or any other assets – in one trade.
‘From April, we plan to start rolling out the world’s first, multi-asset, crypto-enabled debit card on the Optimus platform in Europe,’ said Thieriot. ‘The card has already proved a hit with our U.S. customers offering a unique combination of utility, convenience and crypto-back rewards.’
The Uphold account allows users to toggle instantly between more than 100 funding sources and spend any of their holdings – from XRP to Tesla stock – at more than 50 million merchants worldwide, as well as access to cash at virtually all ATMs. A generous cashback program has also caught the imagination of U.S. users with purchases made using Bitcoin, as an example, earning 2 percent back in BTC.
‘The combination of Optimus’s tech-forward card platform and Uphold’s unique multi-asset wallet should create a compelling product,’ said Thieriot. ‘Very soon our European customers will be able to receive part or all of their salary in Bitcoin – or any asset of their choice – and spend it using Uphold Cards issued through Optimus.’