Coinbase launches a debit card that enables US users to spend Bitcoins anywhere Visa is accepted.
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Just the other day we wrote about an extension for completely anonymized Bitcoin transactions. The usage and spread of the cryptocurrency gains momentum with Shift Card, a Visa debit card which enables US users to pay anywhere with their bitcoins.
The card is a result of a partnership between Shift Payments and Coinbase. The former aims to integrate multiple currencies into a single card, while the latter provides digital ‘wallets’ where 2.8 million users across the world go to for their Bitcoin transactions. With a Shift Card, users can link their Coinbase account to a physical Visa debit card, which they can use to pay at participating stores IRL or online, wherever Visa is accepted (the team is also working on incorporating airline miles and other loyalty points.) For now, apart from the USD 10 card issuance charge, there are little fees — domestic transactions fees from BTC to USD are zero percent, and ATM withdrawals are USD 2.5.
The Shift Card could make Bitcoin more accessible, and counter its lack of usage, which is cause largely by the perception that not many businesses accept it (though 38 million merchants worldwide do). Unlike conventional currencies, cryptocurrency is an open network not controlled by any bank or government, but managed by its users. It is hoped that the system will provide a more democratic, transparent, and cheaper way to trade, upgrading the status quo, which some argue were not designed for the digital era.
How else can businesses fill in the gaps of the cryptocurrency market?