Crypto Debit Cards have arrived
A major step in adopting cryptocurrencies as part of daily life is, of course, the ability to buy whatever you need with them. We’re not quite there yet, but the technology is catching up fast. In the 8 years since Bitcoin was launched, crypto has taken massive strides, with the last three years in particular bringing digital currencies out of the fringe and into the spotlight.
By now, pretty much everyone has heard of cryptocurrency, and that’s exciting. For many, it feels like living the early days of the Internet/dot com boom all over again. We’re on the cusp of a technological revolution that will completely reshape the way we look at money and purchasing goods and services online and in stores.
The world is slowly, skeptically turning their gaze to crypto to see what it can really do, and when it’s possible for anyone to walk into any major store and buy goods easily from their bitcoin wallet, and withdraw dollars or euros from any ATM with their crypto debit card, and that’s when things will really take off, and when people will truly start to question what it is they need that fiat cash for anyway.
Many crypto credit cards have already been launched, with varying degrees of success. Recently Visa terminated the membership of their affiliate WaveCrest due to non-compliance issues. WaveCrest is the company issuing cards to many crypto card projects, meaning those cards are no longer functioning as of January 8 2018, which has halted progress; but this is a temporary obstacle as WaveCrest has told TenX that the issue affected all companies and was not crypto related. The frozen card companies are currently working on a solution, other cards are still operational or in development, and progress marches on.
Here’s a look at the type of projects that are in development right now.
— Charlie Shrem (@CharlieShrem) January 30, 2018
The great thing that all crypto cards have in common is that the money isn’t being converted to fiat in your digital wallet – you’re paying directly with crypto, and that gets converted to fiat for the vendor externally.
Want to swipe a debit card and buy groceries with your BTC? Great – read on.
Let’s take a look at two of the big names in crypto debit cards at the moment and see how they compare to each other side by side, starting with TenX.
TenX is a Singapore-based company with about 40 team members. They raised $34 million in 7 minutes in 2017 with big names like PayPal lending legitimacy to their ICO.
TenX released their card last year, and the system facilitates instant payments through the card with no transaction fees for the consumer – that’s paid by the vendor, like with many fiat debit card transactions. The card is linked to a digital wallet, and you can pay in either Bitcoin or Ethereum at the moment, with plans to be able to pay in any major cryptocurrency.
TenX offers 0.01% cashback in the form of TenX tokens as well, offering the opportunity to earn passive income over time if the tokens appreciate in value, which certainly seems likely given all the great features on offer. At the time of writing, TenX token PAY is valued at $2.19. Check out this this video of TenX co-founder and CEO instantly purchasing a coffee in Singapore with his card.
Unlike Token card, TenX have already released their card – however, TenX are one of the cards affected by the WaveCrest shutdown, meaning that the cards are currently frozen pending reactivation – perhaps they released too soon after all! The WaveCrest situation is unfortunate, and has dealt a big blow to a lot of projects making strides in debit cards for crypto. The situation hasn’t been adequately explained, with WaveCrest and Visa both remaining relatively tight-lipped about it, but you can read more about it here.
Presumably, WaveCrest are doing everything they can to get reinstated as the card issuer, though TenX is reportedly working with a new issuer already whose identity cannot be revealed at the moment due to a non-disclosure agreement. It’s expected that TenX will redistribute new cards during Q1 of this year, so if you’re set on using TenX as your card provider, hang in there.
Let’s take a look at Token card.
Token is a project working with the Ethereum system, and they plan to allow users to pay with any ECR-20 token (any token compatible with the Ethereum system). The project can be divided into three elements– Token Contract Wallet, Token Card, and Token App. The app will be available for Android and IOS, and the wallet is of course where the card balance will be stored. Token are working with a card issuer in secret, and are holding off on revealing their identity.
They were reportedly almost set for card launch when WaveCrest’s membership was terminated by Visa in early January 2018, which has significantly delayed things for them and many other similar projects. Token are based in London and raised about $13 million in their May 2017 ICO.
Here’s the plan. Transactions aren’t free, and incur a fee of 1.5% for most cryptocurrency, or 0.5% for TKN (Token). 1% of all transactions are further placed into an asset smart contract and kept dormant, with the option of redeeming them at any time through the Cash and Burn system proposed by Token.
A somewhat strange idea, the concept is that 1% of all transactions are sent to the TKN Asset Contract. TKN holders can receive their share by “burning” their TKN, which results in the TKN coins being permanently destroyed. Token describe this as an incentive for people not to redeem the fee that will at the same time serve to gradually reduce supply and increase the value of TKN for other users whenever someone chooses to “burn” their tokens.
Which one’s the card for me?
It’s difficult to say. They both have different features, upsides and downsides. Token’s use of the Ethereum Network could contribute to the value of ETH and ER-20 currencies overall, meaning good news for investors. On the other hand, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing that the release has been delayed – ideally when it’s launched, the Lightning Network will have solved Ethereum’s scalability problems and sped things up considerably. Token is also the only card to provide private network keys, which is a great feature giving added security.
TenX has no transaction fees for the consumer, which is definitely a bonus. Last we checked, it wasn’t available in the US yet, but this should also be corrected by the time of release sometime this year. Of course, there are a number of other card projects as well, some of which are currently operational, so it’s a good idea to check them all out before taking the plunge. Both projects mentioned here are extremely promising, both for the utility offered to users and for widespread adoption of cryptocurrency in general. Stay tuned for more updates in the crypto debit card world as issuers get a move on and start giving the people what they want.
What exciting times we live in!
Follow us on twitter @cryptoiscomin
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the coolest infographics and articles from the crypto world