Xapo Bank, a bitcoin custodian and licensed private bank based in Gibraltar, has collaborated with Circle, a global financial technology company helping money move at internet speed, to become the first licensed bank in the world to integrate USDC payment rails as an alternative to SWIFT.

Xapo Bank said in a statement on Tuesday that USDC is a digital dollar, also known as a stablecoin, that provides a faster and more efficient way to send and receive money around the globe, 24/7, including weekends, in under an hour.

By adding outrails to its existing USDC onramps, Xapo Bank said it enables members to bypass costly and time-consuming SWIFT payments and instead deposit and withdraw with no fees charged by Xapo Bank.

The bank is offering a 1:1 conversion rate from USDC to USD. All USDC deposits at Xapo Bank are automatically converted to USD, meaning members can benefit from a 4.1 percent annual interest rate return on deposits.

A fully licensed and regulated bank, Xapo Bank is a member of the Gibraltar Deposit Guarantee Scheme (GDGS) and guarantees its members’ USD deposits up to $100,000 equivalent.

Ensuring member protection, Xapo Bank does not stake any crypto deposits or have any exposure to surrounding crypto markets as all deposits are automatically converted to USD held by the bank.

Unlike traditional banks, Xapo Bank does not lend and therefore does not rely on fractional reserve banking to make money as its core business model.

Instead, Xapo Bank has all its customers’ funds in reserve and invests in short-term liquid assets to pass the interest earned to its customers.

“Xapo Bank’s USDC payment rails mark a watershed moment in financial history, combining the speed and cost efficiency of the digital dollar with the security guarantees of a licensed private bank,” said Seamus Rocca, Chief Executive Officer of Xapo Bank.

According to him, enabling auto-converted USDC deposits and withdrawals at Xapo Bank gives crypto members a safe haven for their savings.

“Running 24/7, including weekends, we eliminate the anxiety of keeping your money in exchanges and the hassle of expensive offramps into traditional banks,” he said.

He also said Xapo Bank was built to protect members’ savings.

“Unlike many traditional banks, we do not offer customer loans; all of our customers’ money is held dollar for dollar on our balance sheet,

“It is invested in very short-dated, highly credit-rated money market instruments and short-term bonds. We pass that benefit to our members through a 4.1 percent interest rate, paid daily,” he said.

He also noted the firm charges its members an honest membership fee of $150 that helps it recover its overheads and means it doesn’t have to rely on paying almost no interest to its members or use hidden fees to make money.

“We give the benefit of more than 80 percent of the yield we generate back to our members,” he added.

Xapo Bank is constantly striving to grow its payment rails options, offering members additional currency choices managed with the security of a fully-regulated bank.

The USDC news comes after last week’s announcement that Xapo Bank had integrated with the Faster Payment System (FPS) to activate support for GBP settlement for account deposits and withdrawals.

Earlier this month, the bank also announced an integration with bitcoin’s Lightning Network, in collaboration with Lightspark.

Founded in 2013, Xapo became one of the most trusted bitcoin custodians in the industry, providing users with a secure platform to store and transact with their cryptocurrency.

Evolving into Xapo Bank, it became the first crypto company in the world to obtain a banking license and has since expanded its offerings to include savings accounts.

It has future ambitions of offering wealth management and a full suite of private banking services like secured lending and asset protection among its future ambitions.

With this expansion, Xapo said it is poised to become one of the leading private banks in the world, offering clients a level of security, privacy, and flexibility that is unmatched in the traditional banking industry.

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