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Why Bolt is getting Wyred

Lucinda Shen
Apr 7, 2022
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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Bolt, the one-click checkout decacorn, announced plans to acquire Wyre, a blockchain-based payments company that will give it the ability to accept crypto payments.

Why it matters: The cash-and-stock deal values Wyre at about $1.5 billion, Bolt CEO Maju Kuruvilla confirmed to Axios. That makes it the largest crypto deal not involving a SPAC, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

  • "Our vision is one-click crypto, whether its for payments or NFTs," he said.

Context: Historically, cryptocurrency has been unpopular for use in daily transactions due to its volatility, with Stripe ending support for bitcoin-based payments in 2018.

Yes, but: The pandemic gave the whole sector a second wind. PayPal in early 2021 gave consumers and merchants a way to transact with crypto. Stripe meanwhile has hinted that it may also reenter the space.

Details: Wyre CEO Ioannis Giannaros is expected to stay onboard to lead Fast's crypto strategy after the deal closes later this year.

  • Wyre has about 130 employees, and has raised roughly $55 million in its lifetime from investors, among them Pantera and Stellar Development Foundation.

Be smart: This isn't just about crypto payments. Embedded fintech has been one of the biggest investing trends of the last year, and Wyre also fits into that category. Its products allow its customers to build their own crypto wallets and NFT marketplaces.

  • "Wyre will allow people to build their own Coinbases," Kuruvilla says.

Yes, but: Fast, a smaller one-click checkout company, shuttered this week, raising questions about whether the rest of the sector is overvalued.

  • Bolt announced only in January that it had raised $355 million at an $11 billion valuation.

Of note: Bolt has roots in the crypto space. Founder Ryan Breslow dropped out of college in the mid-2010s to build a crypto wallet but later pivoted to one-click checkout.

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