U.S. digital trading platform Uphold has acquired card issuer Optimus Cards UK, and is now planning to launch a crypto-enabled debit card in Europe, Uphold said in a press release on 2 February.
According to the announcement, Uphold plans to release its new “multi-asset” crypto-enabled debit card in Europe in April, enabling its customers to receive “part or all of their salary” in any asset of their choice. Uphold further said the acquisition of Optimus came with an Electronic Money Institution license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allowed Optimus to act as a primary card issuer and payments facilitator. The CEO of Uphold, JP Thieriot, said in a statement:
“From April, we plan to start rolling out the world’s first, multi-asset, crypto-enabled debit card on the Optimus platform in Europe. The card has already proved a hit with our U.S. customers offering a unique combination of utility, convenience and crypto-back rewards.”
Back in March 2020 Uphold announced the release of its U.S. multi-asset debit card — supporting 38 digital assets, 27 fiat currencies, four precious metals and 50 fractional U.S. equities — which allowed U.S. citizens to spend the assets held in their Uphold account at any Mastercard compatible location.
In its Tuesday press release, Uphold revealed it had to pass the U.K. FCA’s rigorous “Change In Control” process, which was needed to get approval from the regulator for acquiring Optimus. While the cost of acquisition was not disclosed, it should not have come cheap, considering the services of Optimus can be compared to major platforms such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.