A partnership between Poundtoken and BitcoinPoint will make the country's first 100% backed GBP stablecoin ($GBPT) accessible to retail consumers via a network of 18,000 ATMs across the United Kingdom. The move marks another step towards the U.K. becoming a "crypto hub" and is in line with the government's push to use stablecoins for wholesale settlements.
Bitcoin Point is a Lightning Network-enabled Bitcoin (BTC), and cryptocurrency exchange, licensed and registered in the U.K. Poundtoken is the sole issuer of the GBPT ($GBPT) stablecoin. Poundtoken states that its stablecoin GBPT is fully backed in pound sterling at all times, with monthly attestations provided by auditor KPMG.
Tokens including Bitcoin, Ether (ETH) and can already be swapped for cash at ATMs across the United Kingdom. However, listing GBPT on the BitcoinPoint platform means that users can now access retail and wholesale payments using the GBP stablecoin, and use a currency familiar to Brits as an onramp into crypto.There are thousands of ATMs in London alone. Source: ATM Map
Benoit Marzouk, CEO at BitcoinPoint, told Cointelegraph that the move could democratize “access to crypto for non-tech savvy people in the U.K.” He explained that:“It’s also fully in line with the government’s consideration to integrate stablecoins with the UK economy."
The U.K. is the second largest economy in Europe. Its government is recruiting for senior roles in Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) as well as a digital pound rollout, while Prime Minister Rish Sunak has been vocal in his support for Digital Settlement Assets, the new and preferred terminology for crypto.
Crobie explained to Cointelegraph that Poundtoken came about as a result of the “rise in USD stablecoins,” such as Tether (USDT) and Circle (USDC), while there is no U.K. based alternative.“The purpose of GBPT is really to bring the blockchain and crypto to the U.K. and make it easier for adoption in the U.K. [...] It's time the UK started to realize its potential as a world leader in Crypto.”
The partnership works to normalize the use of stablecoins to conduct everyday financial practices. Marzouk explained, "We are Bitcoiners at Bitcoin Point and we really see value in stablecoin projects–it really makes sense.”Users require a phone number and a BitcoinPoint account to use the service. Source: Marzouk
Stablecoin use has proliferated around the world, from inflation-ridden Argentina to European financial hub Switzerland. However, the scars of the Terra (LUNA) algorithmic stablecoin crash are still fresh for the crypto industry, forcing some jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, to outlaw use entirely.
Scoring systems from traditional finance risk assessors such as Moody’s may give credibility to the burgeoning stablecoin ecosystem while efforts from Bitcoin-advocate groups such as the Bitcoin Policy Institute may pave the way towards a crypto and stablecoin-based future.
Related: United Kingdom banks are a threat to crypto, and that's bad news for everyone
In the U.K., Marzouk told Cointelegraph that cashing out via an ATM offramp using Bitcoin Point remains low, at less than 5%, and it is unlikely that there will be a dramatic uptick in numbers of users taking advantage of GBPT to hold physical cash. However, he is “quite confident about the onramp [into crypto].”“We see Bitcoiners opting out from the banking system and becoming bitcoin only; you could also have people who don't want to have a bank account and could therefore use GBPT. So when they need cash they can offramp into GBPT to get cash.”
The move could allow more and more crypto enthusiasts to participate without a bank. The integration is now live across the United Kingdom’s 18,000 ATMs.