Uphold’s recent decision to enable Ether trading on its platform marks another sign of recognition by both the financial and the open source developer communities’ of Ethereum's unique potential.
CCN on Wednesday reported that Uphold users can now buy or convert fiat currencies (USD, EUR, and GBP) or other digital currencies, including bitcoin, to Ether, the token value of the Ethereum blockchain.
With its inclusion, Ether is now among 30 other currencies supported by the Uphold exchange. Uphold also announced a partnership with payroll service startup Bitwage to allow users to receive their wages in Ether.
Uphold's Unique Offering
“Uphold members can fund their accounts via bank transfer or credit/debit card (if using USD, EUR or GBP) – or from another member, instantly in any of the 30 currencies we support, even bitcoin, Litecoin or Voxel, directly between accounts,” Jorge Pereira, Uphold’s executive vice president and chief product and engineering officer, told CCN in interview. “After funding your account, you can create your own personal Ethereum money card and convert the amount you wish from the card of your choice.”
Uphold is the only platform that enables the free convertibility of bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum.
Why Uphold Chose Ethereum
“We chose to support Ether as a new cryptocurrency because of its growing popularity in the developer and open source communities as well as with financial traders and enthusiasts,” Pereira said. “We strive to create a seamless and inclusive financial platform where it’s free to hold, move, convert and transact in any form of currency or commodity.”
“That's why this year so far, we’ve already launched support for the Voxel, the in-game currency for VR (virtual reality) content platform Voxelus, as well as Litecoin in addition to Ethereum,” Pereira added.
More Innovation Coming
Uphold embraces the underlying principles of innovation, such as open source development, bitcoin and other blockchain-based technologies, such as Ethereum, he noted. “We believe in their potential for disruption in the financial sector. While there are no immediate plans we can share just yet, we continue to look into new ways to offer our members every conceivable form of currency.”
“Uphold is reimagining the world of money and finance from the ground up,” said Anthony Watson, Uphold CEO. “We want to change and transform the splintered world of finance – from basic banking needs, payments and money transfer to the global financial ecosystem itself.”
Why Bitwage Chose Ethereum
The Uphold-Bitwage partnership will offer users the option to obtain payroll payments in Ether, with no bank account information nor employer sign up necessary.
Jonathan Chester, president of Bitwage, gave CCN his perspective on the respective uses for bitcoin and Ethereum.
“For the time being, workers who want Ethereum are all speculators who want to become a part of the smart contract and decentralized autonomous organization revolution,” Chester said. “This represents a stark contrast to bitcoin users, who are either speculating on bitcoin as being a new reserve currency or actually leveraging bitcoin for faster, cheaper international payrolls, where the user ends with local currency. That last use case is actually currently a majority of Bitwage’s volume.”
Bitwage utilizes Uphold’s open API, so when Uphold went live with Ether, "the gates of Bitwage also opened for this function," Chester said. However, leading up to the launch, both Uphold and Bitwage have had continuous requests to support Ether from their respective members.
The choice between bitcoin and Ether would be by request from the employee, not the employer, Chester said.
“It is easy for the employer to comply as Bitwage is simple and easy for any company to implement through compatibilities with most payroll, such as ADP and gusto, and freelance marketplaces, such as upwork,” he said. “Bitwage benefits employers through reduced payroll costs, increased transfer speeds, especially in the cases of international wage payments, and a trackable payroll process for employers and workers.”
It is less likely that an employer will require an employee to be paid solely in bitcoin, or any cryptocurrency via Bitwage, Chester said. However, Bitwage also supports local currencies, other than bitcoin and Ether.
“We envision a world of low cost, fast, borderless payroll where, with Bitwage Cloud Savings, employees and contractors all around the world can avoid the limitations enforced by the traditional banking infrastructure by harnessing the efficiency and freedom of bitcoin held in the currency of their choosing,” Chester noted in an earlier blog post.
Images from Shutterstock and Uphold.