Dismissed until recently by many in the payments industry as a fantasy, cryptocurrency as a payments medium continues to step toward center stage. Early Thursday, transaction processor Computer Services Inc. said it will work with NYDIG to help community banks support their customers who want to buy, sell, or hold Bitcoin. This news follows MoneyGram International Inc.’s announcement Wednesday it has taken an approximate 4% stake in Coinme Inc., a U.S. cryptocurrency exchange.
Five-year-old NYDIG, short for New York Digital Investment Group LLC, will work with Paducah, Ky.-based CSI to enable consumers to get Bitcoin services from a local financial institution. This is a constituency CSI serves with core and payments processing, mobile banking, and cybersecurity compliance. “It’s vital that we enable community financial institutions to grow their assets and reach new customers by integrating Bitcoin along with our suite of innovative digital- banking products,” said Giovanni Mastronardi, group president of enterprise banking at CSI, in a statement.
According to both CSI and NYDIG, the new service will help meet rising demand community banks are getting from customers. “Bitcoin is one of the fastest-growing areas of consumer interest, and we feel strongly about giving customers the ability to safely buy, sell, and invest in it,” said Gerald Reiter, president and chief executive at Granite Bank, in a statement. Based in Cold Spring, Minn., Granite Bank is a client of CSI for core processing services.
MoneyGram may be spotting the same trend. Its stake in Seattle-based Coinme, which lets consumers buy crypto using cash through links with companies like MoneyGram, closes out a Series A financing round for Coinme. MoneyGram in May had announced its cash-to-Bitcoin program with the company. That program opened thousands of physical locations where consumers could buy and sell Bitcoin, according to MoneyGram. Eight-year-old Coinme has operations in 48 states, with plans to expand overseas.
“We continue to be bullish on the vast opportunities that exist in the ever-growing world of cryptocurrency and our ability to operate as a compliant bridge to connect digital assets to local fiat currency,” said Alex Holmes, MoneyGram’s chairman and chief executive, in a statement Tuesday. “Our investment in Coinme further strengthens our partnership and compliments our shared vision to expand access to digital assets and cryptocurrencies.”
The most popular of all cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is widely known for its volatility. It was selling at a price just shy of $43,000 early Thursday, down from almost $51,000 only two weeks ago, according to Coinmarketcap.com.