Coldplay-backed crypto wallet Zumo launches app
Zumo, a crypto wallet, has launched its app for users looking to store, spend and exchange Bitcoin and Etherium cryptocurrencies.
The Edinburgh-based fintech is backed by Coldplay’s bassist Guy Berryman, alongside Murray Capital and Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
In the coming weeks, the start-up says it will incorporate sterling and euros onto the app alongside a convertible, contactless debit card.
As well as its consumer offering, Zumo has also rolled out a software development service for businesses so they can start taking payments in cryptocurrency.
The focus here will be on emerging markets, and in Q4 this year the fintech says it will announce a partnership with “a soon to be launched challenger bank” targeting the developing world.
Zumo says it wants to “radically improve” the security, cost and speed of payments across the world, breaking down financial barriers which have been made glaring during the economic fall-out of the coronavirus crisis.
Users don’t need a bank account to use Zumo. It is designed to tap both the unbanked and “the hundreds of millions of ordinary people who trust in global financial markets where they exert no agency”.
“We want those people to own their own money in a way that wasn’t possible when the last financial crash hit in 2008,” says co-founder and CEO Nick Jones.
Jones has invested in and advised a series of tech companies prior to founding Zumo, including advertising platform Appsumer, ecommerce start-up Adimo, and cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform Phrasee.
The CEO is accompanied by fellow co-founder and chief product officer, Paul Roach, who has a background in search engine optimisation and has more recently co-founded two of his own ventures in big data and digital currencies.
Since 16 March – when the US announced its lockdown – Bitcoin has been up 94%. This follows a disastrous end to February which saw crypto stocks plummet.
“There is now a pretty widely held belief amongst our investors that Bitcoin has solidified its place as digital gold,” Grayscale’s managing director Michael Sonnenshein told Yahoo Finance last week.
“As things have become increasingly uncertain and we’ve seen levers get pulled by central banks and governments, investors have allocated to Bitcoin. When the shelter-in-place began and everything was getting deleveraged, stocks were getting sold, gold getting sold… now Bitcoin has rebounded like crazy.”
Zumo’s CEO believes new forms of currency that are more resilient to crises are ready to be embraced by societies.
When the US rolled out its $2 trillion stimulus plan, many were quick to cite digital currencies as a faster, efficient way of distributing it – even the US government considered it for a time.
“It’s exactly why Bitcoin was created,” CEO at crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital, Michael Novogratz, told CNBC in March.
One of Zumo’s advisers, Charles Read, says Zumo truly tackles the age-old problem crypto start-ups come up against – which is how to onboard new users who aren’t technical.
“Zumo has all the benefits of decentralised technology without the teething problems for new users, that’s why I am really excited to be a part of it,” says Read.
“Having traditional and digital currency in one user friendly interface is a huge step forward for the blockchain world.”