Crypto debit cards changes everything
If you were to ask cryptocurrency experts why widespread retail adoption is so fleeting 10 years after Bitcoin's initial launch, most of them would respond with a lengthy explanation of utility. You would soon learn that there are plenty of coins out there but very few ways to spend them. And if you cannot spend your coins, what is the purpose in having them?
Bitcoin followers and enthusiasts will know what was the most expensive Bitcoin 'purchase' ever. It was a man who paid what today would be the equivalent of millions of dollars in bitcoins for a couple of large pizzas. The thing is that he didn't take the coins to the pizza shop to make his purchase. He sent them to another crypto enthusiast who then ordered the pizza for him using a credit card.
The young man was a Bitcoin hobbyist at the time. He had purchased some coins but then came to the conclusion that they had little value because they couldn't be spent. As such, he had no problem parting with them in order to satisfy a hungry stomach. All of that brings us to the topic of this post: the cryptocurrency debit card.
Digital wallet and crypto exchange service Coinbase introduced a brand-new cryptocurrency debit card in the UK back in April (2019). The card is issued by a company known as Paysafe Financial Services Limited and can be used just like a standard debit card issued by your bank. The card has done so well that Coinbase has rolled it out to six more European countries including France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain.
This is big, big news. The reason it is so big is because the cryptocurrency debit card changes everything in terms of adoption. It's ideal for playing Mega Moolah too! If you are not convinced, we offer five reasons in defense of our position:
1. Near universal acceptance
Coinbase's debit card works like any other debit card in terms of making purchases. Let's say you stop by the local coffee shop on the way home from work for your favorite brew and a quick snack. If you would normally pay using your bank-issued debit card, you can also use your Coinbase card instead. It makes no difference to the merchant.
The beauty of the Coinbase card is its near universal acceptance. It can be used anywhere bank-issued debit cards are already accepted. That means you can also use it online. You get to use your bitcoins to make purchases while the merchant receives his or her funds in fiat. It is a beautiful thing that makes everyone happy.
This is, arguably, the most important reason the cryptocurrency debit card changes everything. This card immediately negates the persistent problem of utility. In fact, a crypto debit card actually creates utility to a fairly large extent. Anyone who has such a card can spend his or her coins in the same way fiat would be spent. Thus, the utility problem is solved. End of story.
2. Transactions are seamless
Skeptics might worry that converting between cryptocurrency and fiat could create a messy situation that doesn't always end well. Although such concerns are understandable, they are not justified. Making a purchase with a cryptocurrency debit card is no different than using a bank-issued debit card in a foreign country.
If you are a UK citizen traveling abroad, your bank-issued debit card works just fine in the country in which you are traveling. Every transaction you make with the card initiates a relationship between your bank and the merchant's bank. They work out the currency exchange between themselves.
If you are traveling in the U.S., your bank converts British pounds to U.S. dollars before completing the transaction. If you are traveling in Germany, the conversion to euros will be automatic. Your bank converts pounds to Japanese yen if you happen to be in Tokyo. It all works seamlessly and without any additional effort required of you.
Coinbase's new debit card does exactly the same thing. It converts your digital coins into fiat before sending that money to the merchant. Not only that, you get to choose which coins you want to use for payment. This is an excellent feature for Coinbase users with possession of more than one wallet.
Let us say you have five different digital assets you store with Coinbase. You want to pay with the one that is not performing so well as an investment. You can make that choice.
3. The cards are fiat neutral
Hand-in-hand with being able to choose which coins to spend is the fact that the Coinbase debit card is fiat neutral. In other words, you are not locked into a single fiat for buying coins or spending them via your debit card. Coinbase supports multiple fiat currencies.
To understand the concept of fiat neutrality, you must understand that Coinbase is not a cryptocurrency exchange in the strictest sense. They do not act as a middleman to bring buyers and sellers together. No, Coinbase is actually more of a cryptocurrency gateway. They operate similar to a currency store at the airport.
Coinbase takes care of business by maintaining its own supply of digital assets. When you want some Bitcoin, you simply buy it from Coinbase in the same way you would purchase holiday money on the way to the gate to catch your flight. You can sell your coins back to Coinbase as well.
With that understanding, fiat neutrality should make more sense. Coinbase allows you to purchase digital coins directly from your bank account using a debit card. Note that you will be paying in whatever fiat currency is the norm in your country. That means U.S. dollars in the States. It means Canadian dollars in Canada, pounds in the UK, and euros in Germany.
What this means is that Coinbase supports the fiat currencies in every country in which it operates. If you can buy coins from Coinbase using your bank account, your fiat is good with them. You are not forced to use U.S. dollars or British pounds.
4. Transaction values don't matter
Next up is the fact that transaction values don't matter to Coinbase. To illustrate the point, consider the following quote from Coinbase UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz, who told Coin Telegraph that "you can buy groceries on bitcoin (BTC) and then coffee on litecoin (LTC) right after."
Coinbase is not limiting debit card transactions to a certain amount. It is not like they are telling consumers they must spend at least $25 in order to use their debit cards. If you can buy a single cup of coffee with your litecoins, you have real utility that resonates with cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
The only caveat here is that Coinbase does charge a fee for converting cryptocurrency into fiat. Just as you pay a fee to both buy and sell coins, you pay a fee for every transaction facilitated by your debit card. Therefore, it would be foolish to use your card on any transaction for which the fee is higher than the transaction amount.
5. The convenience factor
Finally, one of the things people most appreciate about debit cards is convenience. Paying with a debit card means no longer having to carry cash in your pocket. It means always having the ability to pay for something without remembering to have to get to the bank to withdraw bills.
The Coinbase debit card increases convenience by giving crypto users yet another option to pay for things. Think of it in terms of having an extra revenue stream in between paychecks.
Let's say you normally get paid every other week. This is not an issue for you because you have managed to adjust your budget accordingly. But one week you find yourself running a little short. You had an emergency expense come up, and now you do not have enough in your account to get you through until the next payday.
Suddenly you remember you have some Bitcoin and Litecoin in your wallets. You can use your crypto debit card to buy a few groceries and put some fuel in your car. Next time you get paid you can replenish your cryptocurrency wallets.
Are there other crypto debit cards available?
Wirex Limited (UK) has been offering a debit card well before Coinbase, and is available in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. That's a lot more countries than where the Coinbase card is available. More info can be found on the Wirex website https://wirexapp.com/card
BitPay https://bitpay.com/card/ is another company offering a crypto debit card, however the card is offered to US-based customers only.
Cryptopay https://cryptopay.me/bitcoin-debit-card/ is available throughout Europe, Russia and Singapore and supports BTC, ETH, LTC, and XRP. Customers can have a Euro, Dollar or Ruble card.
Furez https://fuzex.co/ used Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as its base cryptocurrency and supports ETH and the platform's own token, FXT. Furez is available in 32 countries across Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
Crypto.com https://crypto.com/en/cards.html is a Hong Kong-headquartered company offering the Crypto.com Wallet & Card to approved users worldwide except citizens and residents of Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, Malta, or the USA.
TenX https://tenx.tech/en/ is a Singapore-based firm offering customers in the Asia Pacific region to send and spend Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin with the TenX Wallet and Card.
Debit cards were one of the best things to have been introduced by banks some 30 years ago. They instantly gave bank account holders access to their cash without having to actually travel to the bank. They also gave merchants a way to increase revenues by offering a new form of electronic payment. To say debit cards changed everything way back then is an understatement.
Today there is a new kind of debit card thanks to these enterprising companies mentioned above. Now, they are changing everything yet again. Cryptocurrency debit cards are giving coin owners instant access to their coins in a way that completely transforms cryptocurrency utility.
It is not extreme to say that the cryptocurrency debit card could represent a tipping point for crypto utility. If it catches on, Bitcoin and all of its competitors could finally become the widely used monetary systems they were always envisioned to be.
Byline: This article was published by Mega Moolah expert Henry. Media and other enquiries.
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