Bitcoin's march to mainstream adoption continued earlier this week when United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), the second largest mortgage lender in the U.S., announced plans to start accepting the cryptocurrency as payment later this year.
UWM CEO Mat Ishbia told The Detroit Free Press that his company is looking to start accepting crypto payments by as early as the end of the third financial quarter. He also said the company is considering support for other cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, but plans to start with Bitcoin before expanding to other coins.
"We’re going to walk before we run, but at the same time, we are definitely a leader in technology and innovation and we are always trying to be the best and the leader in everything we do," Ishbia told The Detroit Free Press. "That’s the plan. Obliviously there’s no guarantees — we’re still working through some details. But absolutely."
UWM said during a recent earnings call that it closed a record $59.2 billion in mortgages in the second quarter, but its revenue dropped from $1.2 billion in the first quarter to $484.6 million in the second and its net income dropped from $860 million to $138.7 million in the same time frame, due to overall market conditions.
Will starting to accept Bitcoin as payment make a notable difference to UWM's bottom line? Probably not directly. But the cryptocurrency's recent price surge combined with growing interest from institutional investors, tech companies and the general public could make this the right time to start accepting it as payment.
UWM's adoption of Bitcoin (and, later, other cryptocurrencies) might also solve crypto's chicken and egg problem. People don't feel much pressure to use crypto because few companies accept it as payment, and because there isn't much demand from the average consumer, companies don't feel much pressure to adopt it.
But now the second largest mortgage lender—Cointelegraph noted that UWM only trails behind Quicken Loans in terms of the number of loans originated and the value of those loans—is pushing for Bitcoin to be a viable method of payment for one of the most common types of debt in the U.S. Chicken, meet egg.