Wyre winds down — for real this time

Wyre had one closure scare, and the company says it’s shutting down this time

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GOLFX/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Wyre is winding down.

Plagued by deep seated financial and reputational problems, the cryptocurrency payments and infrastructure company said it would shutter on Friday, citing “market conditions.” 

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The shifting US regulatory landscape — which has repeatedly remained top of mind for industry participants throughout 2023 — did not play a role, according to the company. A former spokesperson for Wyre told Blockworks on Friday that the firm was no longer a client. 

Wyre in April elevated Stephen Cheng, formerly the 10-year-old company’s interim CEO, to its permanent chief executive role. Chen at the time said the company was in “a position to really cement our foundation so that we could grow not just top line, but also bottom line.”

Read more: Crypto Startup Wyre Cements CEO To Get Back to Growth

Cheng in April said the company had been stabilized by a capital raise from an unspecified backer at the beginning of 2023, and he declined to identify that backer or to give additional details regarding the fundraise. 

The word toward the end of 2022 and into the beginning of this year was that Wyre was set to cease operations following a planned acquisition by Bolt that never materialized. That didn’t happen then.

The company had moved to put in place weighty restrictions around cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals via its platform. And then the rescue financing landed — which the company said pumped the brakes on any pending additional interruptions to customer services. 

Wyre on Friday said customer assets remained safe, and would be available to be withdrawn through the platform’s standard process through July 14. 

A lawyer and a veteran of the likes of American Express and Prime Trust, where he held the title of chief compliance officer, Cheng was installed by Wyre’s board to leave the company out of that turbulent period.

He previously told Blockworks that the company had put in place a number of compliance safeguards that had been lacking and was positioned for future growth.

Wyre, founded in 2013 as one of the now-oldest cryptocurrency companies, was valued at $1.5 billion last year as momentum built around the Bolt deal. 

It had as many as 200 staffers at its peak and was down to 50 in April, with Cheng then saying the company would have to do “more with less.”


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