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MoneyGram now allows U.S. users to buy and hold crypto on its mobile app

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(Kitco News) - MoneyGram International, the global peer-to-peer payments company, has announced the launch of a new service that allows U.S.-based users of its MoneyGram mobile app to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies. 

Users can use the MoneyGram app to access Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC); the company indicated that it intends to add support for additional tokens in 2023. It also signaled that it will look to expand into markets as global regulations allow.

This announcement is the latest crypto-related initiative adopted by the company as part of its vision to increase crypto adoption by bringing "real-world cryptocurrency and blockchain use cases to life."

"From on/off-ramp services for digital wallets through partnerships with Coinme, Stellar and G-Coin, to cross-border settlement through Circle's USD Coin (USDC), to the new ability to buy and store crypto simply by using its app, MoneyGram is pioneering cross-border payment innovation and blockchain-enabled settlement," the press release said. 

Previous crypto-related endeavors by the firm didn't necessarily go as planned, including a partnership with Ripple Labs that ended after the firm became embroiled in a legal fight with the Securities and Exchange Commission that is ongoing to this day. 

As it looks to establish itself as a player in the crypto ecosystem with this new offering, the company has a lot of catching up to do when looking at its more established competitors that offer a far more extensive list of token offerings. 

With the move, MoneyGram appears to be adopting a long-term strategy of incorporating cryptos alongside the services offered for fiat currencies. 

"Cryptocurrencies are additive to everything we're doing at MoneyGram. From dollars to euros to yen and so on, MoneyGram enables instant access to over 120 currencies around the globe, and we see crypto and digital currencies as another input and output option," said Alex Holmes, MoneyGram Chairman and CEO. "As a next step in the evolution of MoneyGram, we're thrilled to provide our customers with access to a trusted and easy-to-use platform to securely buy, sell and hold select cryptocurrencies," Holmes added. 

Google and Coinbase partnership will enable crypto payments for cloud services

Despite the poor performance of the crypto market as a whole in 2022, interest in cryptos continues to rise as the global economy faces multiple headwinds – including rising interest rates. 

MoneyGram is looking to capture some of that interest and momentum with its new offering to help the company remain relevant amid a shifting financial landscape. 

"As consumer interest in digital currencies continues to accelerate, we are uniquely positioned to meet that demand and bridge the gap between blockchain and traditional financial services thanks to our global network, leading compliance solutions and strong culture of fintech innovation. We are excited for this next chapter in our journey," Holmes said. 

Interest in offering crypto services is a trending topic among payment providers. Last week, it was revealed that Western Union had filed three trademark applications related to managing digital wallets, exchanging digital assets and commodities derivatives, issuing tokens of value, and brokerage and insurance services. 

And earlier in October, global payment processor Mastercard revealed the launch of Crypto Source, a new program that will enable financial institutions to begin offering secure crypto trading services to their customers.

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