Transferring money, locally or internationally, comes with many challenges. Some of the most common include:
- Costs and fees
One of the most significant challenges is the cost of transferring money. Banks and financial institutions often charge fees for various types of transfers, including wire transfers, foreign exchange conversions, and service fees. These costs can add up, especially for international transfers.
- Exchange rates
When transferring money across international borders, exchange rates can significantly impact the amount received by the recipient. Exchange rate fluctuations can lead to unexpected gains or losses in the transferred amount.
Delays can occur for various reasons, such as the processing time needed by banks or payment service providers, time zone differences, or intermediary banks involved in the transfer process. These delays can be problematic in urgent situations.
- Limited accessibility
In some regions, access to formal banking and financial services is limited. This can make it difficult for individuals to send or receive money through traditional channels, forcing them to rely on less secure and more costly methods.
- Human error
Entering incorrect recipient information, account numbers, or transaction details can result in delays or even lost funds. Users need to be diligent in verifying the accuracy of the information provided during the transfer process.
The cryptocurrency solution
The popularity of cryptocurrencies has drastically increased in recent years. While they solve many of the problems highlighted above, cryptocurrencies come with their own set of unique challenges, like long and unfriendly addresses, risk of hacks, and complexity. For individuals who aren’t crypto-savvy, the process of acquiring, storing, and transferring these digital currencies can be difficult. These challenges can be a barrier to entry for those looking to use cryptocurrencies for money transfers.
Addressing crypto and fiat challenges often requires a combination of technological innovation, regulatory changes, financial education, and the development of more inclusive and accessible financial services. Many people and organisations are working to create solutions to make money transfers more convenient, secure, and cost-effective, especially in today's globalised world, where international remittances are essential for many families and economies.
The UMA solution
The Universal Money Addresses (UMA) network promises to revolutionise money transfers by addressing all those challenges and making crypto and traditional currency transactions available 24/7, near-instant, more affordable and simpler to perform. The UMA network operates via the Lightning Network, a second-layer solution for the Bitcoin blockchain that aims to address some of the scalability and speed limitations of the original Bitcoin network.
Transactions within the UMA network are almost instant due to the Lightning Network integration and can cost less than $0.1. For example, sending money from Argentina to the Philippines can be done during the weekends, without delays and with near-zero fees.
One of the primary benefits of Universal Money Addresses is that they make blockchain interactions more user-friendly. Instead of dealing with long and complex hexadecimal addresses, users can interact with human-readable names that are easy to remember. For example, you can replace 0x4b0897b0513fdc7c541b6d9d7e929c4e5364d2db with [email protected]. This simplicity fosters a smoother user experience and minimises the chances of sending funds to the wrong address due to typos or errors.
Universal Money Addresses can be used for transacting not only cryptocurrencies but USD, EUR, and all other fiat currencies without a need to add an IBAN, routing number, or account number. The universal money addresses network will recognise and process the transaction. Moreover, you can send USD to an account that holds only Bitcoin or Argentinian Pesos. The UMA network will provide an exchange rate, and after a confirmation, the transaction will be processed and completed within a few seconds.
Xapo Bank is one of the founding partners of the UMA network. All approved Xapo Bank members can now save their Xapo UMA address for free and transact with other UMA network participants once we have completed the ongoing network integration.