Crypto Debit Cards Let You Spend Cryptocurrencies in the Real World
Despite the recent surge in the popularity of cryptocurrencies and the steady increase of major retailers that are starting to accept payments in Bitcoin, there is still one glaring drawback: the vast majority of altcoins still cannot be spent in the real world.
Imagine walking into your local supermarket and trying to pay for your groceries with Ethereum. The cashier wouldn’t know how to respond. They’d probably just laugh at you. Some of them might not even know what on earth Ethereum actually is.
Sure, you can invest in cryptocurrencies. But before you actually use them for anything useful, you’ll have to go to an exchange and sell them for fiat currency.
But what if there was an alternative? What if you could spend your cryptocurrency anywhere - just like regular cash - without having to exchange it first?
Introducing Crypto Debit Cards
The concept behind a crypto debit card is relatively simple. It’s much like a regular debit card, except it can also convert cryptocurrencies into fiat currencies that you can then use to buy products.
Along with your crypto debit card, you will also receive a digital wallet. This is where you must deposit your digital cash before you can use it.
Then, when you use your debit card in a store or at an ATM, the cryptocurrency in your digital wallet will automatically be converted into fiat currency.
Why Do We Need Crypto Debit Cards?
As of the 7th January 2018, there are currently over 1,600 cryptocurrencies in existence. Researching, buying, investing in, and exchanging cryptocurrencies has never been easier. However, the real challenge is how to actually spend them.
Right now, the main way to spend your cryptocurrencies is to exchange them into fiat currencies that you can actually use to buy things is to go to an exchange like Coinbase. After that, you need to move the money back into your bank account before you can spend any of it.
Cryptocurrency ATMs are becoming more common, but they are still incredibly rare. And you can forget about paying in Litecoin or Ripple - any crypto ATM you do manage to find will probably only support Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Even worse, the fees are likely to be extortionate. As well as making the process simple and easy, a crypto debit card could do away with these fees altogether.
What Are the Advantages of Crypto Debit Cards?
There are many advantages to using a crypto debit card over fiat cash - and the list continues to expand.
Right now, some of the main advantages include:
- Low Fees - Crypto debit cards allow users to spend cryptocurrencies anywhere in the world without having to worry about high exchange rates.
- Increased Usability - A crypto debit card would allow you to spend your cryptocurrencies anywhere without having to pre-convert them at an exchange.
- Increased Crypto Adoption - As crypto debit cards become more popular and using them in the real world becomes less complicated, it is likely that more people will begin to adopt cryptocurrencies as a means of buying things.
- Increased Anonymity - Some crypto debit card vendors allow their users the option to remain anonymous if they are only spending small amounts of money.
- Reward Schemes - Many crypto debit cards vendors offer users reward schemes that are not available when spending fiat cash.
- Inflation Buffer - This will be particularly useful in countries where the currency is particularly volatile
How Can I Get a Crypto Debit Card?
The technology behind crypto debit cards is still very new, so it can be difficult to get your hands on one.
Right now, some of the most popular crypto debit cards include:
- Centra Card - Currently the Centra Card is one of the most popular crypto debit cards. It was created by Centra Tech - a US corporation headquartered in Miami Beach, Florida. The Centra Card can convert eight different cryptocurrencies (including Ethereum, DASH, Litecoin, Zcash, Ripple, and Bitcoin) into fiat currencies. It is a secure, ensured, and safe smart wallet, with 0% exchange, withdraw, and spend fees.
- OmiseGO - The OmiseGO blockchain project aims to create an Ethereum-based banking platform for people who lack access to banking - from disadvantaged living in the United States, to people living in developing countries who don’t have access to banks.
Considering there are over 2 billion people in the world who are not currently using banks, this is a huge step forward.
The service is designed to promote financial inclusion by disrupting existing institutions. It will be made available to everyone via the OmiseGO network and digital wallet framework.
The Recent Crypto Debit Card Crackdown
Recently, some crypto-backed debit cards have been removed from the Visa network after Visa claimed that the issuer in Europe violated their operating regulations.
This has caused huge problems for many crypto debit card holders and has caused many transactions to be declined, rendering many people unable to access their funds.
WaveCrest is the company at the brunt of this crackdown. Unfortunately, this company provided its services to a number of different crypto card companies that have been designed to convert peoples’ cryptocurrencies into fiat cash, including Bitwala, Cryptopay, Wirex, and TenX. As a result, cards provided by these companies are now invalid.
The Future of Crypto Debit Cards
The idea of crypto debit cards has really caught on. A quick Google search reveals hundreds of projects to create one that are currently in progress.
Right now, the number of actual crypto-debit cards is limited - mostly because having a working card outside the US requires you to be part of one of the two major payment networks: Visa or Mastercard.
Back in November 2017, Mastercard actually filed for a patent for instant blockchain payments processing.
We’re still quite a way off from everyone owning their own crypto debit card, but it could become mainstream sooner than most people think.
Crypto debit cards have the potential to revolutionize the way we pay for things. They are transforming worldwide currencies into simple apps that we can fit into our pockets and carry everywhere with us.