The fiat integration is powered by a new partnership with MoonPay
Uniswap Labs is getting into the fiat game.
The developers behind decentralized cryptoasset exchange Uniswap have struck a deal with MoonPay to bridge DeFi and conventional currencies. The partnership allows Uniswap users to buy digital assets via a bank account or supported credit or debit card, the companies said Tuesday.
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The arrangement is designed to resolve a longstanding issue for DEX users: Peer-to-peer blockchain protocols do not support fiat pairs. Centralized exchanges, such as Coinbase and Kraken, do.
MoonPay, a digital assets infrastructure and payments processor, is handling the back-end of the arrangement, which allows customers in more than 160 countries to purchase crypto via direct bank transfers, as well as credit and debit cards.
Terms of the deal and the exact timeline of the rollout were not disclosed.
The move, once more, pits Uniswap against its centralized counterparts: Coinbase, for instance, has an option to convert assets to the stablecoin USDC and then withdraw for free.
Uniswap representatives in a statement dubbed their fees as the “best rates in [Web3]” and “the lowest processing fees on the market.” The DEX is not planning to take a cut of the spread on USDC transactions, but processing fees do apply, a spokesperson said. The latter typically ranges from 1% to 3%, depending on the payment method. (Credit card purchases would come with a greater cost, for instance.)
Institutional and retail crypto traders alike have lately been reexamining the possibility — and feasibility — of safeguarding crypto on exchanges following FTX’s liquidity crunch and ensuing bankruptcy. And the notion appears to be one part of the marketing pitch for the partnership.
MC Lader, Uniswap Labs’ chief operating officer, told Blockworks that “user experience has been a major barrier to adoption of decentralized tech, and improving that is a priority for Uniswap.” App users maintain custody of their funds.
“The more users can do in self-custody and on decentralized rails, the better and safer their experience can be,” Lader said in a statement.
Supported blockchains include Arbitrum, Ethereum’s mainnet, Optimism and Polygon. Supported tokens at launch: DAI, ETH, MATIC, USDC, USDT, WBTC and WETH. Minimum purchases are typically the local currency equivalent of $15.
Availability for the purchase of each individual cryptocurrency depends on where the customer in question is based, and similar restrictions apply to support for bank account transfers — versus using a debit card. Purchases of cryptocurrencies with fiat are also subject to MoonPay’s know-your-customer (KYC) requirements, which likewise vary by region.
MoonPay-Uniswap integration is all about choice, the companies say
For many DeFi adherents, the idea of having to provide personally identifiable information in order to acquire digital assets is antithetical to the idea of DeFi itself: a trustless, permissionless means to freely exchange value around the world, at any time.
Uniswap said MoonPay would not share any user data with the DEX.
Zeeshan Feroz, MoonPay’s chief strategy officer, told Blockworks that there’s a “very clear line” in terms of Uniswap’s function as a decentralized entity and his company’s role as a payment processor, which he dubbed “decoupling the tech stack.”
“The idea is to provide a robust tech stack, provide optionality in terms of payment methods that also provide different price points,” Feroz said. “The idea is to provide choice.”
There are no crypto offramps at the moment, with the companies saying an addition is something they could pursue down the line. It’s the latest instance of a growing number of fiat onramps, though, for acquiring digital assets with real-world money. Users, instead, have to use MoonPay, or another third-party facilitator, to exchange their digital assets for fiat.
MetaMask, which already has its own Uniswap integration, now supports purchases via PayPal within its own mobile app; payment processing giant Stripe now allows customers to swap dollars for digital assets; and Kado, a payment processor that focuses, specifically, on Web3 applications, has set up its own fiat mechanism on the Cosmos blockchain.
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