This Week in Web3: Growing Crypto Acceptance and Cross-Border Payments

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The state of crypto, just like the crypto market, remains promising – if volatile – in 2024.

While many observers may have believed that the crypto space would simply disappear after a wild start to the 2020s that saw it enter the mainstream and then implode; the incarceration of both FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried and Binance’s Changpeng Zhao has paradoxically led to the opposite.

The number of cryptocurrency, blockchain or Web3 initiatives announced by Fortune 100 companies has increased 39% year-over-year and hit a record high in Q1 2024, per a Wednesday (June 12) report from Coinbase. 

U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday (June 7) pitched himself as a “crypto president” during a San Francisco fundraiser last week. 

And Binance’s Zhao is now the richest individual to ever spend time in a U.S. federal prison.

Still, 785 crypto thefts have taken place over the past 13 years of crypto’s history, totaling $19 billion of stolen digital assets, and serving as a reminder that the industry still has some maturing to do if it wants to shake the ongoing perception of being a haven for illicit and unregulated activity.

PYMNTS is keeping track of the latest initiatives driving the blockchain economy. Here is the must-read pulse check on the top Web3 news this week.

Read more: Last Week in Web3: Cross-Border Payments, Crypto Investments, User Education

Growing Crypto’s Mainstream Utility

MoonPay announced this Wednesday (June 12) that users in both the United Kingdom and European Union can now buy cryptocurrencies using PayPal, pointing to a growing trend of onboarding mainstream users as digital asset use grows in popularity.

To help smooth out onboarding across the digital asset ecosystem, blockchain firm Solana Labs has debuted Bond, a customer engagement platform for brands.

“By leveraging blockchain technology, Bond enables global brands to create personalized, transparent, and engaging digital experiences that deepen customer connections and drive long-term loyalty,” the company said Wednesday.

Also announced Wednesday, Figure Technology Solutions has launched a blockchain-based multi-seller, multi-buyer marketplace for private credit loans. Dubbed “Figure Connect,” the marketplace brings the company’s capital markets buyers to its loan origination partners.

Elsewhere in the world, Ripple wants to support innovation of the XRP Ledger in Japan and South Korea. The enterprise blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions company announced the launch of the XRPL Japan and Korea Fund in a Tuesday (June 11) press release. The fund is designed to “provide support for a range of robust initiatives to foster innovation on the XRP Ledger in both countries.”

To capitalize on the advantages of blockchain technology, cross-border payments remains a great place to start. Within cross-border payments, businesses must adopt a strategic approach — which is why PYMNTS examined five core pillars to any actionable roadmap for businesses engaged in leveraging crypto for cross-border commerce. 

By using decentralized ledgers, blockchain claims to facilitate faster, more secure and less expensive transactions. The shift is particularly beneficial for businesses that operate across multiple markets, as it allows for quicker settlement times and reduced fees, thereby enhancing overall operational efficiency.

The European Union’s landmark Markets in Crypto-Assets Act (MiCA) stablecoin regulations will go into effect at the end of June, which is why PYMNTS unpacked how complying with that framework is critical for stablecoin issuers, custodial firms, trading exchanges, crypto-asset advising firms and crypto-portfolio managers alike.

More here: VC Investment in Crypto Hits $2.4 Billion After Long Decline

The Crypto Marketplace Remains Dynamic

Within crypto, the only certainty has always been uncertainty, even today. 

Digital asset marketplace Bakkt is reportedly considering putting itself up for sale, per a Friday (June 7) report, with sources reporting that Bakkt — which has a market value of around $300 million as of Friday — has been working with a financial adviser to weigh strategic options including a possible breakup.

Last month, Bakkt said it was laying off 28 workers, or 13% of its non-call center staff, while also announcing Charles Goodroe will step down as Bakkt’s chief accounting officer. 

But while some crypto firms are still reeling from the effects of the industry’s 2022 meltdown, others are considering acquisitions and expansion. For example, Robinhood Markets said last week it was acquiring the crypto exchange Bitstamp in a $200 million deal.

At the same time, Robinhood faces challenges, such as the recent Wells Notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a sign of impending enforcement action against the company, one which raises concerns about the future of Robinhood’s crypto trading arm.

Elsewhere, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken is reportedly considering seeking more than $100 million in a final funding round before launching a possible initial public offering (IPO).

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