San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is launching a Visa card in the United Kingdom which will enable its users to pay with Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and other assets available on Coinbase. But is this actually good for industry adoption?
A Visa Card That Allows Spending Bitcoin
In a recent blog post, Coinbase has revealed that it is teaming up with Visa to launch a card which will allow users to pay with all of the cryptocurrencies supported by the trading platform.
Per the announcement, the card will enable users to convert the selected cryptocurrencies to fiat, while also allowing them to withdraw money from conventional ATMs. Users will be able to decide which cryptocurrency they want to use through a related application.
Initially, the card will be rolled out in the United Kingdom, but according to the company, it will also be rolling out to other European countries soon. A deterrent to that, however, could turn out to be the hefty transaction fees. CNN reports that there is a 2.49% fee on every transaction in the UK, which goes up to 2.69% in other European countries and to as much as 5.49% in countries which are further afield.
Commenting on the matter was Zeeshan Feroz, the head of Coinbase’s UK arm, said:
Coinbase Card supports all crypto assets available to buy and sell on the Coinbase platform, meaning they can pay for a meal with bitcoin, or use ethereum to fund their train ticket home.
Is This The Future Adoption?
Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies are about removing barriers. Bitcoin was initially intended to be a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system,” meaning that one of its main purposes was to get rid of unnecessary and expensive intermediaries.
While the Coinbase Card might sound good on a first look, it’s also important to note that it may actually create more barriers than it would remove, as some have already pointed out.
When using a Visa debit card, the only intermediary between the payee and the merchant is Visa itself.
When using a Coinbase card, on the other hand, the user would first have to deposit cryptocurrencies in their account, use the app to convert, then go through Visa’s network, and then get to the merchant.
Hence, begging the question if it’s not simply easier to convert your crypto to fiat and use your regular visa anyways?