The Best Bitcoin Debit & Credit Cards
Crypto literally be a way of life; we’ve documented how individuals around the world are living solely through use of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. But just because it’s doable, doesn’t make it easy or convenient. Well… Until recently.
THE BEST BITCOIN AND CRYPTO CREDIT & DEBIT CARDS
Crypto literally is a way of life; we’ve documented how individuals around the world are living solely through use of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. See our post on the best countries to live off Bitcoin or read our post on how to live off Bitcoin.
But just because it’s doable, doesn’t make it easy or convenient. Yet. For all the hubbub crypto generated this year, it’s still not practical to deploy your crypto assets in day-to-day life. You’re way more likely to reach for cash or a credit card at the grocery store. Debit and credit cards that spend cryptocurrencies would be a massive step forward. This is such a simple and effective idea, that it’s no wonder a bevy of competing teams have sprung up, all striving to be the best crypto credit card on the market.
BEST CRYPTO CARDS
TenX, Satoshi Tango, Crypto Pay, Xapo, are the more established names in the pre paid card scene so far, with up-and-comers like Monaco, Token, Polybius, and Bankera on the horizon. We’ve broken some of them below, as well as what factors could contribute to the eventual winner.
Although TenX isn’t the first player on the scene, it is currently one of the most talked about names. Pulling 80 million in their 2017 ICO, the Singaporean-based team has been successful so far for multiple reasons. TenX had a slick marketing campaign. Short promotional videos showed team members using the TenX card to buy coffee and order pizza. These illustrated the ease and convenience of using the card in daily life. TenX’s location, Singapore, is more important than it seems. Singapore is a tech and startup hub, friendly towards cryptocurrencies so far. The team has thrived there, launching a successful working prototype pre-ICO. Supporting a wide range of currencies and boasting low fees, TenX is the name to beat for now.
One company gunning for TenX’s spot is Monaco. Monaco hauled in 25 million during their ICO, despite announcing it only a month before launch, and not having a working prototype. Monaco doesn’t support as many tokens as TenX, but that’s a conscious decision; the team selectively chose coins they think will be around long-term. Monaco enjoyed a meteoric rise in 2017, as rumors swirled the company would be partnering with Visa. Gaining access to Visa’s 44 million global merchant locations helped push Monaco as a strong player in this space. Monaco rode the news to an almost 700% increase, but Visa has dragged its heels on discussing the partnership. This has some token holders leery. One reason Visa is stalling might also be a challenge all token cards face. Cryptocurrencies are still relatively unregulated. Global financial institutions are not. Credit card companies like Visa are bound by “know your customer,” or KYC laws (which is one of the reasons why most of these cards are not available to residents of the USA or Canada). These typically require them to collect certain information about users. Cryptocurrencies don’t have these requirements, and thus, may be too anonymous for companies like Visa to legally work with. Monaco could ride or die on how things play out with Visa. From an investment standpoint, only a tenth of the eventual circulating supply of Monaco is currently out, which has attracted many short-term investors looking to flip tokens for profit.
TokenCard is another solid name in the space. The UK-based company only allowed spending Ethereum-based tokens initially, but has since expanded and added names like Bancor. The smart contract aspect of Ethereum tokens makes this a natural fit, but it’s questionable if a crypto card can thrive without supporting Bitcoin. The few brick-and-mortar businesses that take cryptocurrency usually take Bitcoin only. Even those that take multiple currencies, typically started with Bitcoin only. Token Card employs a “cash and burn” pot (which, incidentally, many claim was copied by Monaco, which has the same function). At any time, a TKN holder can “burn” their Token and destroy it. In exchange, they receive “a pro-rata share of licensing fees held by the TKN Asset Contract,” per the whitepaper.
Those are three of the largest newest players in the scene. Another up-and-comer is Polybius, which drew eyeballs with a $31 million ICO. Polybius is unique in that the team’s whitepaper doesn’t bash our modern banking system as irreparably flawed, the way many crypto teams do. Instead, “Polybius Bank,” claims it will offer all the function of a modern bank, without brick-and-mortar locations. Lower overhead allows lower fees for customers. Polybius is launching only in the European Union to start. Blockchain technology offers a world of possibilities, but the modern banking system did evolve for a reason. Polybius could thrive as a bridge between the two. Conversely, many point out that blockchain technology was meant to be decentralized. Others argue Polybius is simply a blockchain version of existing online-only banks like Ally and Green Dot. It’s still early days for the project.
Another new name in the space is Bankera, which just completed a successful pre-ICO sale. The team gathered some 25 million Euro during a pre-sale, and set a hard date of November 27th for the ICO. Many established cryptocurrencies aim to execute P2P transactions and little else. But Bankera is far more ambitious. Bankera will offer traditional investment vehicles with a crypto twist, like cryptocurrency ETFs. A spinoff of SpectroCoin, Bankera already has a working prototype. As we’ve covered extensively on the site, one of the keys to a successful ICO is having a tangible, functioning product by the time your ICO rolls around. Keep an eye out for Bankera’s ICO.
PRE-PAID CRYPTO CARDS YOU CAN GET THIS WEEK
Regulatory risk and fees are the two biggest obstacles all of these teams will face. As mentioned, KYC laws could clash with blockchain products, which are inherently decentralized and relatively anonymous. Major credit card companies are already partnering with creators of cryptocurrency debit and credit cards, but the issue becomes where they can issue the cards. Currently Canada and United States are mostly left out of the loop. Companies who already issue cards such as Crypto Pay, Satoshi Tango, Xapo cannot ship their cards to North America.
CRYPTO DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS ARE THE FUTURE
With lower overhead and no stockholders to answer to, crypo credit card companies can offer significantly lower fees. This is a massive advantage. But no matter how low fees go, this solution isn’t as good as crypto to crypto payments. However, we currently don’t have adoption levels which would make spending your cypto a reality yet. Therefore the current work-around is to pay a small premium to use the Visa or Mastercard network.
There is no clear leader in this space, and things change fast in the crypto world. Keep an eye on the up-and-comers in the crypto credit and debit card sector. Sometime in the near future, you might be purchasing groceries with a quick swipe of one of these cards.
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