Coinbase was one of the leaders when it came to issuing a cryptocurrency debit card when it launched its UK visa card last year, but they have taken it a step further with the payment’s processor and card issuer making Coinbase the first crypto company that can now launch its own cards.
This has happened because Visa has made Coinbase a principal member of Visa meaning they can bypass third parties when it comes to releasing new Visa cards. It is a big step in the evolution of Coinbase who are looking to make crypto more usable. Their current card is only available in the UK and EU.
Crypto cards are on the rise as many feel this is one way to make cryptocurrency as easy to spend as regular money. The notion, of course, remains if people want to spend the likes of Bitcoin – seen more as a digital gold – but it at least provides an opportunity for this to happen.
A simpler processes
The further-reaching implications of this move mean that there are indeed easier ways to use crypto rather than just holding onto them. This was explained by Zeeshan Feroz, CEO of Coinbase UK, which received the news.
“Your Bitcoin holdings have never been liquid because you have to sell them, you have to go through a process, withdraw the money, and then spend it. It’s never been an instant, “Oh, I’ll buy this cup of coffee with Bitcoin,” he explained to Forbes. “What the card is trying to change is the mindset that crypto is tucked away, takes two days to access, and can actually now be spent in real time.”
This entry as a primary member also allows for Coinbase, and any other companies that come after it to Visa, the opportunity to be more flexible with their business model. direct access to the Visa network gives the cryptocurrency exchange more flexibility in the business models it pursues.
A previous Coinbase Visa card was issued in April 2019 by financial services firm Paysafe Group Holdings Limited, which vets its customers, including corporate spending firm Soldo and mobile banking app Lunar, and charges a fee for the service.
“You have a dependency on their risk appetite and the models they’d like to work with,” said Feroz. “Direct membership allows us to take control of our issuing program.”