London-based challenger bank Ziglu said Monday that it has been licensed as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority. After receiving the permit, the fintech start-up immediately launched peer-to-peer (P2P) payments for both crypto and fiat currencies.
Ziglu founder and chief executive officer Mark Hipperson said the EMI license allows the firm to issue electronic money (e-money) and to provide payment services. The permit was issued on September 1, more than a year since the initial application. It also required the company to comply with stringent anti-money laundering rules.
The digital bank now supports the British pound and four other crypto assets – bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH) and litecoin ( LTC). This means users of the Ziglu app can now make payments peer-to-peer over the network, or to other banks within the UK, using the supported coins.
“Paying people should be instant, free, and easy regardless of their location or the currency, whether that is splitting the cost of your Airbnb or sending a bitcoin birthday present,” Hipperson opined, in an emailed statement to news.Bitcoin.com.
Launched in June, Ziglu raised £5.25 million ($6.93 million) in seed funding, ostensibly “to provide transparent and simple access to cryptocurrency.” The company says total digital assets are insured against cyber-attacks, up to the value of £50,000 ($66,000), with commission fees of 1.25% on all trading activities.
Hipperson said the Ziglu app user numbers currently range in “the low thousands… [but] I’m aiming for a hundred million customers over the next six or seven years,” according to an industry publication. The firm is also planning to unveil a crypto-enabled Mastercard debit card in three weeks while angling for expansion into Europe and the U.S. early 2021, said the report.
Crypto-oriented banks have steadily increased in number in recent years, stepping up to fill in the gap by providing services to an industry long eschewed by traditional banks.