Checkout.com eyes new crypto payments products despite bear market

Quick Take

  • The $40 billion fintech firm is looking to enable pay-outs and merchant payments in crypto.
  • It is one of a number of major payments firms paying greater attention to the crypto sector.

Checkout.com, the payments outfit that was valued at $40 billion in January, is exploring the launch of two new crypto products — doubling down on the sector even as it languishes in a bear market.

The London-based company is exploring a new product that would facilitate pay-outs in crypto — allowing workers receive remuneration in the form of crypto, directly to a digital wallet — and another that would give online merchants a way to accept crypto as a form of payment, according to Jess Houlgrave, crypto strategy lead at Checkout.com.

“We will have some merchants piloting at least one of those two by the end of the year,” she said.

Founded in 2012, Checkout.com processes payments on behalf of a wide range of tech firms. The startup’s profile and valuation have soared in the past few years thanks to several funding rounds — the most recent of which saw it bank $1 billion at a $40 billion valuation.

Since 2018, Checkout.com has been working with crypto firms to help them take payments in fiat currency. Houlgrave said the company works with 12 of the biggest 15 crypto exchanges.

The firm has doubled down on crypto this year. In June, it launched a new stablecoin settlement product, allowing merchant customers to have funds acquired through card payments settled in the form of stablecoin, with Checkout.com managing the mechanics. Such a tool could be particularly useful for crypto firms, which often manage their finances using stablecoins. Houlgrave said Checkout.com had recorded $300 million stablecoin settlements prior to announcing the product, and is at “multiples of that now.”

The company has also formed a dedicated crypto team with 30 staff. Houlgrave herself only took on the crypto strategy role in April, transitioning from chief of staff.

“We’re continuing the grow the team and really we’ve been doing that by focusing on people who have crypto experience and payments experience, which are hard to find,” she said. “I think we firmly believe in building sustainably in the long run and that means deeply understanding the industry and who we’re building for.”

Staying the course

Checkout.com’s rivals in the payment space have also been busy embedding themselves into the crypto industry. In October last year, Worldpay president Jim Johnson outlined a similar expansion of the firm’s crypto capabilities, in an interview with The Block. Stripe, too, has been working on the “the future of web3 payments.” The prevailing bear market — and the numerous crypto outfits that have collapsed during it, such as Celsius and Three Arrows Capital — does not seem to have deterred the payments pros.

Nor does continued regulatory uncertainty surrounding crypto. The US Treasury provided a reminder of that only yesterday by sanctioning Tornado Cash, a popular cryptocurrency mixing service that gave users a way to obscure transactions.  

Checkout.com was identified by the Financial Times as a payments processor for Binance in June last year, after the Financial Conduct Authority warned that the exchange was not authorized to operate in the UK. Checkout.com clarified at the time that it had no relationship with Binance Markets Limit, the UK subsidiary named in the FCA warning.

“Were we shaken? No. The reason being that although we process for a lot of the industry, we have developed pretty sophisticated onboarding processes and approaches to underwriting and legal,” said Houlgrave. “We continuously review our position with existing merchants.”


© 2022 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Ryan is The Block's deals editor. Before joining he worked at Financial News, and has also written for the likes of Wired, Sifted and AltFi.