Abra was founded by Bill Barhydt, a serial entrepreneur, expert, and public speaker in the mobile technology space. Hailing from New York City, Barhydt was a man on a mission when designing and launching Abra, as he wanted an all-in-one money app where users could buy, sell, hold to earn interest, and trade stocks, ETFs, and crypto. More than that, he wanted something that was user-friendly, intuitive, and attractive to users. Did he and his Silicon Valley team achieve that with the project founded all the way back in 2014?
You’ll find out in this article.
- Rather than call up a broker, hire an investment manager, or go to your local bank, you can download an app, submit your ID for verification, and start earning up to 10% interest on certain crypto. Non-US users can also invest in stocks and ETFs.
- More than 100 cryptocurrencies are available to buy and sell on Abra in the US, all from within the app, with over 200 available to international customers.
- Abra started as an app for sending money internationally with ease. Thanks to how well run the company is, and how their reputation grew, they raised the money (over $35m) to branch out into safely providing cryptocurrencies too.
- US customers are permitted on the platform, though they must jump through extra verification hoops, as is pretty much standard in the crypto space.
- Their partnership with Simplex allows users to buy cryptocurrencies directly with Visa and Mastercard – both debit and credit.
- Because cryptocurrencies are divisible, you don’t need 1 whole Bitcoin to start investing and earning interest, in fact, you just need $5 worth.
- The platform permits fiat deposits from more than 70 currencies, one of the highest figures for any platform in this market.
- Users can set a pin code for the app, providing an extra layer of security.
- The UI is slick and friendly, and even allows users to set their display currency and to include price alerts.
- When making a crypto-to-crypto deposit from another wallet, the platform goes through three levels of checks to ensure you’re doing the right thing, first naming the recipient cryptocurrency, secondly asking for a memo ID, and third offering a QR code (this won’t happen for every cryptocurrency, but for a lot of them it’s standard).
- Abra is partnered with Coinify to be compliant with KYC and AML procedures, so there’s a great deal of legitimacy here.
- Abra is partnered with Synapse Fi banking software and Evolve Bank (FDIC-insured) to provide additional levels of security.
- With live chat, email, social channels, and app-based contact all available, their customer support ranks very highly. They also have a wide range of resources and guides for new users in order to help them get started and avoid mistakes.
- Abra is a centralized platform. Their wallet used to be non-custodial, meaning you held your own private keys to access your wallet holdings of both fiat and digital assets Abra had no access to your funds or recovery phrases. Recently however, the company has adopted a hosted model for their wallet offering.
- KYC and AML checks are required to unlock the interest-earning feature, which is a bit of a shame as they are offering up to 10% annual interest on stablecoins like USDC and Tether.
- Abra makes most of their money on the spread between fiat and cryptocurrencies, essentially placing a 1% mark-up on the cost of crypto when purchasing with fiat
- Their main credit card payment provider, Simplex, is very expensive to deposit with (at least a $10 fee).
- There’s no native support for altcoins, so when you withdraw altcoins on Abra, the underlying currency is still BTC, meaning you will be charged a Bitcoin network fee and a Bittrex withdrawal fee.
- Banking and remittance services vary by geographic location.
Which cryptocurrencies can you find on Abra?
More than 100 cryptocurrencies are available to buy and sell, with users also able to lock in and earn interest on:
- Bitcoin Cash
- Stellar Lumens
The following 4 stablecoins all offer interest rates of an impressive 10%:
- True USD
- USD Coin
Some more information on fees
Abra charges nothing to deposit crypto into your wallet, and any incoming fiat deposits are also uncharged by the site, however, you are likely to be charged a service fee by whichever service you use. The following are supported:
- ABRA Wire Program
- Simplex ($10 minimum charge, 4% after that, so the 4% doesn’t apply until you deposit $250 or more)
- Teller (up to 2% for users in the Philippines)
Withdrawals are typically free too, both for fiat and crypto, with some regions like the Philippines being exceptions. As is typical with every exchange there is a network mining or gas fee for withdrawing crypto, this is due to their partnership with Bittrex.
The final say
In 2021, as prices rise, commercial, institutional and personal adoption of crypto increase, and the world gets a new bout of crypto-fever (this is our prediction as least), we think Abra is going to play a poignant role in the massive onboarding phase that will be needed. It’s straightforward, easy to use, and quite flexible. The interest rates on offer for stablecoins should attract a lot of investors and long-term holders to this platform.