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Bolt Pays $1.5B for Crypto Startup Wyre in Biggest Crypto Acquisition to Date

Online payment provider Bolt bought crypto services Wyre with the goal of providing "one-click" crypto payments.

2 min read

In brief

  • Bolt, which provides online checkout services, bought crypto-focused Wyre.
  • The tie-up has the potential to make crypto-based web payments more common.

Bolt, a payment service that offers a one-click shopping service akin to PayPal and Apple Pay, revealed on Thursday that it has acquired crypto-service provider Wyre—creating the potential for more merchants to offer online crypto payments.

Bolt and Wyre did not confirm the value of the deal, but Kuruvilla did not dispute a $1.5 billion price tag reported by the Wall Street Journal, and said it consisted of a mix of cash and stock.

The Journal also cited research that makes the deal the largest crypto acquisition to date, excluding those conducted by means of a SPAC (a controversial shell company gimmick that has fallen out of favor in recent months).

Kuruvilla predicted that integrating crypto payments will be popular with merchants since, according to Bolt, crypto shoppers spend twice as much as those using credit cards, and because the opportunity to pay with crypto attracts new customers.

"We are going to make crypto one click and make it super easy for merchants to support crypto out of the box," Bolt CEO Maju Kuruvilla told Decrypt, adding that current crypto check-out experiences are "high friction."

While Bolt and Wyre signed a deal on Wednesday, Kuruvilla says it will have to go through an approval process, meaning that merchants will only be able to add crypto payment options later this year. 

According to Wyre founder Yanni Giannaros, the service is "crypto agnostic" and can facilitate payments tied to seven different blockchains and more than 40 tokens.

The Bolt-Wyre tie-up has the potential to increase crypto payments in shopping, but that will depend on how many merchants are actually willing to use Bolt in the first-place. Currently, the company's reach is much smaller than the likes of PayPal and few consumers have heard of it, though Kuruvilla points out this is because Bolt uses a "while label" model that lets merchants use their own brands at the point of payment.

According to Bolt founder Ryan Breslow, the Wyre acquisition is something of a full-circle moment for Bolt since crypto was part of its plans when it launched eight years ago, though the company dropped those plans in the face of challenging business conditions.

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