Wirex is the first financial platform to combine bitcoin with traditional currency. Easily use bitcoin debit card, mobile banking, and send money across borders. Get insights on bitcoin, altcoins & ICOs. Read our technical analysis of various cryptocurrencies.
We ended 2018 with a stack of product improvements, extra security features, a smoother user journey and even more places around the world for you to spend your crypto and traditional currencies. It’s been a big year of expansion for us internally too – we’ve grown our staff from a modest team of 30 in Kyiv and London to a team of 270 with offices in Japan, Canada, the USA and Singapore.
Here are our December highlights:
On your marks, Wirex Business customers
Wirex Business is on its way! We’re in the early stages of product development, creating a dynamic service for our business customers. We’ll be one of the first platforms to offer secure crypto-enabled accounts for businesses that can be registered directly under your business name. We’re about to start beta testing this brand new platform – if you’re interested in applying, you can find out more here.
Christmas at Wirex
On the 20th, our London office closed the doors early to celebrate the end of another great year. With staff from the USA and Canada offices in tow, we had our official Wirex Christmas party in Marylebone, London with a night of dinner, drinks, some in-house awards and a lot of dancing. A speech from our co-founder Pavel Matveev rounded off the year, revealing exciting prospects for 2019. Watch this space!
A final milestone for 2018
Thanks to the hard work of our teams across the globe and our loyal customers spreading the word about the Wirex app, we ended the year with a record 2 million registered users! As well as a huge increase in personnel, our business grew four-fold in 2018 and we hope to continue on this trajectory.
Coming up in January
More ways to pay
We’re keeping the details under wraps for now, but look out for more ways to pay with Wirex, coming soon to our users in the EEA.
We’re expanding! Following this year’s growth, Wirex will be coming to even more regions around the world and expanding our offering within existing countries as well.
For a full roundup of our year, check out our timeline for 2018. Don’t forget to follow our social channels to stay up-to-date with new releases, offers and products.
Kicking off 2019 on a high note, we’re delighted to welcome a new token to Wirex. WAVES joins Bitcoin, Litecoin, XRP and Ether as the latest cryptocurrency that Wirex users in the EEA can buy, store, convert and spend with their Wirex Visa card. The launch of the Wirex WAVES Wallet cements our industry-leading offering as one of the most unique on the payment card market.
Why the Waves platform?
Waves offers a sophisticated alternative to open source platforms. Much like the Ethereum blockchain, users can develop and build unique, decentralised applications using a “lightweight architecture”. This framework enables the platform to perform at higher speeds and lower costs than Ethereum, an efficiency that has created greater scope for streamlined scalability and has the potential to inspire increased mainstream crypto adoption. Cryptocurrency journalist Steven Buchko has noted that the Waves platform caters to many diverse applications, “whether you want to crowdfund a project, build a loyalty rewards program, or create an in-app currency”.
Unlike the Bitcoin blockchain, which uses hard forks (new currency protocols) to build every new application, Waves creates these using bespoke plug-ins as an extension of the core software. This means that the Waves architecture doesn’t require clients to update their software every time a new app is developed and added to the platform, making it a particularly disruptive addition to the decentralised platform market.
Waves at Wirex
The platform’s speed and efficiency, which circumvent significant hurdles in the crypto industry, have already made it a popular token with industries far and wide. Since the start of October 2018, WAVES’ value has risen by approximately 373% according to Coin Index charts. “The introduction of the Waves wallet to Wirex is an exciting development for both crypto-investors and our globetrotting Wirex Visa card users,” explains Wirex co-founder Pavel Matveev. “Investors benefit from having a stake in the rising star of the crypto market, which is already ranked in the top 25 on the Coin Market Cap charts [at the time of writing].”
“For travel, welcoming WAVES to your portfolio means that you can enjoy a wider choice of currencies to exchange from and store,” Wirex co-founder Dmitry Lazarichev adds. “The Wirex platform allows you to instantly convert and spend your crypto wherever you are in the world, so you can make the most of our diversified crypto offering while you travel.”
With blockchain adoption at its core, the initial Waves whitepaper asserted that the platform would “determine the most ‘production-ready’ aspects of current blockchain technology and apply them to the real-world problems”. At its core, Waves aspires to solve common problems using disruptive blockchain technology incidentally, rather than as its unique selling point.
ZrCoin is a good example of this. Built on the Waves blockchain, it is the first ever commodity-backed blockchain option, facilitating investment in the production of zirconium dioxide. The decentralised nature of the blockchain allows full transparency throughout the process of production. Investors appreciate this new-found transparency, which allows them to commit to their investment confidently from start to finish.
A study in space and time
Waves launched in 2016 under Ukraine-born CEO and founder Alexander Ivanov. He began his career studying Theoretical Physics at universities in Moscow and Leipzig. He launched Waves over a decade later, naming the platform in honour of recently-discovered gravitational waves (predicted by Albert Einstein a century earlier).
This association with Einstein – the archetypal genius – left Ivanov with large shoes to fill, but he has been bullish in his confidence regarding the platform, telling Forbes that he was “convinced that [Waves would] be the frontier of blockchain adoption”. With more than $16 million raised during its ICO and a partnership with ‘Big Four’ accounting giant Deloitte, Waves’ prospects certainly look positive.
Whether you’re a crypto-investor or are looking for an additional currency to take advantage of, you can convert your funds instantly with low fees and at bank-beating rates on the Wirex platform. Ride the wave with us into 2019, Wirex users!
Most of us are familiar with the task of exchanging currencies, but understanding the intricacies involved can be a challenge. Currency exchange appears to be a relatively simple transaction; in fact, the mechanics are quite complex.
To help make things clearer, here’s an explanation of a few basic terms that will help you get to grips with how currency exchange works. We’ll explain how they affect your transactions later on:
Under the lens
If you go on holiday abroad – let’s say New York for the weekend – you will need to exchange your base currency into a foreign currency – in this case, dollars. You visit your local bank, post office or currency exchange specialist to do this (they generally all operate the same model) and exchange £100 into USD. The bank offers you a price for which they are willing to buy your £100 GBP. This is the GBP-USD Bid price. In this case, the exchange (Bid) price for £100 might be $125.83 ($1.2583 to £1).
You return from New York on Monday with $125.83 left over, which you want to convert back to GBP. You return to the bank who say that they’ll sell you back your GBP at $1.2783* (the Ask price). As such, you receive £98.44. The difference (Spread) is £1.56, which represents the cost of facilitating and matching buyers and sellers.
The Spread for different currencies is affected by trade volumes, liquidity and volatility in the market. All currencies have different levels of liquidity and market demand, which is why spread costs can vary drastically from currency to currency and have different prices on different exchanges (the risk of market volatility is decided by the institution).
*This example assumes that market rates have not changed during this period.
How does Wirex work?
Wirex is a multi-currency platform that allows you to buy, sell and spend your digital and traditional currencies. When you buy your base currency in exchange for another currency, you pay the Ask price. We use live exchange rates to provide you with the most-up-to-date market prices. You can see the equivalent USD value of your holdings in any of your wallets in the Wirex app. These values are based on the Bid price, so you know exactly what it is worth if you want to exchange it into USD. As stated above, this process is the same across all exchanges.
What sets Wirex apart from other exchanges is that we strive to make the buying and exchanging of digital and traditional currencies simpler and more secure. We achieve this by integrating with 10 different exchanges and 3 OTC institutions to obtain the best currency pair pricing for each customer. Our rates take into account the various liquidity levels on these exchanges, differing exchange fees and limits, available currency pairs and volatility levels in order to match the trades for each customer. It means that we search for the best Bid and Ask rates that we can source at the time of transaction. We do not charge any additional fees on top for processing the transaction, unlike other leading companies. Once you add these additional fees to the exchange rates, you will often find that Wirex gives you a better overall rate/value.
Exchange rates are made up of Bid prices, Ask prices and Spreads
All exchanges use the same process for buying and selling traditional and cryptocurrencies
The Ask Price is always higher than the Bid Price. The difference is the Spread, based on market liquidity and demand
Wirex uses live exchange rates to provide you with the most up-to-date prices
Wirex does not charge you any additional fees for processing transactions, unlike most other companies
Wirex does make the process simple giving you our best rates, no additional charges, and the ability to spend your crypto in everyday life
As 2018 draws to a close, we’re taking a look back at everything that’s been accomplished here at Wirex. It’s been an exciting year for us: we’ve launched new products, won awards and cross-continental races, made our mark at FinTech conferences around the world and overseen the grand openings of new Wirex offices in all four corners of the globe.
In our final post of 2018, we’re celebrating all of it. Check out our Wirex 2018 highlights timeline – ideally over a glass of mulled wine and a small mountain of mince pies.
It may come as a surprise, but social media has been a part of our world for almost 25 years now. It has evolved from basic online networking provided by the likes of SixDegrees.com, to today’s Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram-filled world, showcasing the minutia of our day-to-day lives. While these platforms connect us like never before, there are inherent risks that are associated with an online presence.
Doxing is defined by Technopedia as, “the process of retrieving, hacking and publishing other people’s information such as names, addresses, phone numbers and credit card details”. The term originates from 90s hacking slang ‘dropping dox’, which was the method of leaking someone’s personal (usually incriminating) documents onto the internet. It was done to question someone’s legitimacy – for example Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails during her 2016 presidential campaign – or to cause general havoc, like the hack that leaked the names of people on the Ashley Madison database.
Self-doxing is a more recent phenomenon. To self-dox is to inadvertently leak your personal information onto the internet, and the advent of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other popular social media channels has made it easy to do. Kim Kardashian’s £7.8m robbery in Paris in 2016 was an example of self-doxing. Kardashian uploaded a selfie to Instagram (with her location tagged in the post) showcasing her 18.88-carat engagement ring; she was then tracked down to the flat she was staying in and robbed of millions of pounds worth of jewellery.
This also happens in the crypto world. Here’s a crypto example of self-doxing:
Your digital footprint
Self-doxing can happen to anyone. You can inadvertently give away personal information in photos, videos, gaming, statuses, comments – anything that contributes to your digital footprint.
Think of your digital footprint as the trail you leave behind you as you move around the internet. It includes things you post, comments you leave and cookies that track your browsing activity.
With a bit of digging, a hacker can uncover a wealth of information about you that will enable them to commit fraud. In November 2018, RBS was forced to pay out thousands of pounds in compensation as a result of a phone banking scam. According to a report by the BBC, bank records show the fraudster initially called the bank, posing as the customer, and asked for her account to be reset for security reasons. Staff followed the bank’s usual security protocol and called the customer’s landline number, unaware that the call had been diverted to a mobile number.
All a hacker needs are small bits of information – like your pet’s name or the place you were born – to be able to pass security. They can then unearth more personal information, to access your accounts or even visit your home.
How to safeguard yourself
It’s important to remember that much of what you put online can be seen by anyone, and so vigilance is key to keeping yourself safe. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to make yourself less of a target, including:
Google yourself – no, not out of vanity. Googling yourself in incognito mode shows you your visibility online. Whatever comes up on Google is what others can see. If you don’t like it, change it. Which leads us to…
The Right to be Forgotten – since 2014, the Right to be Forgotten has been officially part of EU law, and further supported with the introduction of GDPR legislation, which states “EU residents have the right to request that links to pages of data that are out of date, irrelevant, excessive or inaccurate be removed from Google search results”.
Long, strong and varied passwords – this makes them more difficult to be guessed and hacked. It’s also advisable to enable 2FA with an authenticator app (rather than authentication by text) so that more than one device is required for logins.
Read policy updates – don’t blindly accept social media app updates and policies, they generally change your visibility settings. When you click accept, go to your settings and check what’s changed in terms of privacy.
Uploads – when uploading onto social media, think about what your photos, tweets and posts might reveal of your personal information.
Friend requests – don’t be that person who has 4000+ Facebook friends – no one really knows that many people. If you receive a friend request from someone you don’t know, you should ignore it. Scammers send requests to profile you in the hopes of getting enough information to either scam you or send malicious links that contain viruses, spyware, or ransomware that can compromise your devices.
Beware of geotagging – any time you add a location to an Instagram post, or tag yourself on Facebook flying off from an airport, you’re sharing your exact location – potentially with the world. It’s not difficult for someone to quickly build up a picture of your routine, or worse, know exactly when you’re away from your home.
At Wirex, the security of our customers is our priority. Our FCA-regulated service allows customers to manage their crypto and traditional currencies with confidence. We use multi-sig wallets, offer 24-hour customer support and boast a watertight verification process. The result is that Wirex users can buy, store, convert and spend their Bitcoin, XRP, Ether and Litecoin with confidence.
Stay safe and stay vigilant, Wirex users. Don’t let yourself get doxed.
Calling our all-American Wirex followers, we’re on the hunt for eager beta testers to trial our new streamlined on-boarding process in the United States. We’ll soon be testing our market-leading offering on American soil for the first time. We’d like to know your thoughts – what you like, what you don’t like and if you detect any bugs that may need our attention before the launch.
Successful candidates will be given access to the testing programme where they can trial the new features before we launch them to the masses.
If you live in any of the following states and currently have a registered Wirex account, we’d like to hear from you!
To help us to keep your Wirex account extra-safe, we’ve added another layer of security to the setup process. From Friday 30th November, the memorable word feature will be activated for all of our new and existing users globally.
What is a memorable word?
A memorable word is a user-generated layer of security that helps us to ensure that your account is only accessible by you. It is set up alongside your password and pin – it allows us to recognise you when you login to Wirex, or to confirm your identity in case you need to recover your password. Memorable words (or something similar) are already widely used in most large financial institutions.
How do I choose my word?
As the name suggests, your memorable word needs to be easy to remember, but not easy to guess by someone else. It is case sensitive and must be between 6-20 characters long.
To make it a little easier, we’ll ask you to set up a hint that will appear as a prompt before you enter characters of the memorable word. We recommend that you create a unique word that’s exclusive to Wirex and that you don’t duplicate a password that you use for any of your other accounts or devices, such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of your first school. Also avoid anything that can be easily researched, such as your middle name, age or address. Get creative – use your favourite food, where you had your first kiss or your preferred type of exercise.
N.B. You can’t use the same word for your hint and memorable word.
You can setup your memorable word in just three steps:
Make sure that you have the most up-to-date version of the Wirex app. To check this, go to the App Store or Google Play and update if necessary.
Login to your Wirex account.
To complete login, you will be prompted to create your memorable word and hint.
Don’t forget that if you need to recover your password, you’ll never be asked to write the memorable word in full. We’ll only ask you to verify certain characters e.g. ‘please enter the third, fourth and eleventh characters of your memorable word’. If you’d like to reset your memorable word, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to us via the live chat.
Watch our quick tutorial for a step-by-step guide: