In the wake of Bitcoin’s 10th birthday, its $110 billion+ market cap (at the time of writing) is enough to illustrate just how far the digital currency has come. The Bitcoin story began on Halloween 2008 with an anonymously-published white paper – “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. A decade on, there are over 1000 cryptocurrencies in circulation, supported by multiple blockchains and created for a range of different applications.
Although Bitcoin was created as a solution for efficient, low-cost transactions, many cryptocurrencies are seen as an asset these days, with investors HODLing (HODL = Hold On for Dear Life) their supplies. It’s no surprise that a market for more streamlined traditional and digital finance has emerged — the result: the crypto-funded payment card.
How does it work?
Crypto-funded payment cards (also called crypto debit cards) require two elements to function:
– partnership with a card issuer
– partnership with a payment provider
The tech allows users to both trade and spend their cryptocurrencies in the real world. Crypto-friendly platforms have to partner with a payment provider like Visa to be able to offer their services for transactions in mainstream outlets. The conversion from cryptocurrencies to fiat (i.e. Bitcoin to Dollars) is paramount to this – transactions can only be funded by (rather than spent in) cryptocurrencies. Although Visa certainly can’t be described as overtly pro-crypto just yet, their partnership with crypto-friendly digital platforms like Wirex suggests that they’re willing to move with the tide and take steps to unite and streamline traditional and digital finance. In October 2018, Visa CEO Al Kelly said, “We want to be in the middle of every payment flow in the world regardless of how it happens or what the currency is behind it.”We want to be in the middle of every payment flow in the world regardless of how it happens or what the currency is behind it. - Al Kelly, VISA CEO Click To Tweet
The Wirex Visa card
Unlike offerings from other platforms, the Wirex Visa card allows users to buy, store and instantly convert their choice of Bitcoin, XRP, Ether and Litecoin to spend in-store and online. Wirex Visa cards are available in GBP, EUR and USD and were released in the EEA in May 2018. Wirex also offers users an exclusive and innovative rewards programme – CryptobackTM – which earns users 0.5% in Bitcoin on every in-store transaction they make with their Wirex Visa card. The cards can be used anywhere Visa is accepted and Wirex’s bank-beating exchange rates make it the perfect companion for international travel. Combined with their global presence (Wirex recently expanded into North America and the APAC region), Wirex’s market-leading tech makes them front-runners in the crypto-funded payment card world.
A look to the future
If you’ve not got a crypto-funded payment card already, now is the time to get involved. Whether you want to pay for your Christmas gifts with XRP, buy the bubbly at New Year with Ethereum or fund your 2019 getaway with Bitcoin, order your Wirex Visa card today. Verification consists of two steps and takes minutes to complete, so there’s really no excuse!