Over 8,000 Retail Stores Can Now Sell Cryptocurrency - Allowing Customers To Convert Cash To Digital Coin At The Counter With The Help Of This Fintech Operator

Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

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SurgePays Inc. SURG is a fintech company that recently announced updating its blockchain platform to enable Bitcoin BTC/USD, Ethereum ETH/USD, and Dogecoin DOGE/USD purchases at local convenience stores, bodegas, and community shops. The SurgePays platform serves the underbanked in the community by enabling store owners to sell Bitcoin to customers-with or without a bank account or credit card, converting cash into digital currency.

The fintech operator has had a goal to be a purveyor of prepaid goods and services to the underbanked community as far back as 2006, providing customers access to everything from prepaid wireless top-ups to prepaid Amazon.com Inc. AMZN and Apple Inc. AAPL gift cards.

The company looks at its entry into the cryptocurrency space as representing not only a new product stream but also a commitment to the financial freedom of millions of people around the globe. While mining companies and other cryptocurrency operators like Marathon Digital Holdings Inc. MARA and Riot Blockchain Inc. RIOT are necessary for the system as a whole, SurgePays’ blockchain system is reportedly meant to potentially change lives. 

The Remittance Problem

People with family living in impoverished economies like Venezuela, Lebanon, and El Salvador often rely heavily on money transfers to help their loved ones out financially. More than 2.3 million Salvadorians live in the U.S., and in 2020, they sent nearly $6 billion — equivalent to 23% of El Salvador’s gross domestic product (GDP) — to family in their home country. 

Despite the reliance on money transfers, some remittance service providers like Western Union Co. WU charge large commissions on transferred sums. For households that receive payments from relatives abroad, remittances account for 50% of their overall income. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele estimates that remittance service providers charge nearly $400 million a year in commissions for their services. 

SurgePays reports that its blockchain effort is more than just a means to grant U.S. citizens access to cryptocurrency; it’s an effort to help underbanked U.S. citizens and governments cut large fees when transferring funds abroad. In 2017, immigrants in the U.S. sent $148 billion to their home countries, a number that has likely increased since the onset of the pandemic. The update to SurgePays suite of fintech products and services allows consumers to convert cash into digital coins at the counter of their neighborhood convenience store, which empowers them to complete the transfer without utilizing a remittance service provider.   

“When I took over as CEO in 2017, I stated that we were building an updated version of our software platform to incorporate blockchain with my mission to be the first company to practically enhance the lives of the underbanked — at the grassroots level in the stores where they shop,” SurgePays Chairman and CEO Bryan Cox said. “We are utilizing the same trusted cultural framework of the community store to be the tech-hub for underbanked neighborhoods.”

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