Visa Issues First Australian Bitcoin Debit Card

Visa Making Waves With Crypto

Since the launch of Visa’s co-branded crypto debit card and its partnership with BlockFi to offer Bitcoin rewards credit cards in 2020, the fintech company has continued to expand its services in the cryptocurrency space through new partnerships, the latest being with Australian startup Cryptospend. The collaboration will enable both companies to achieve their common goal – to accelerate the direct exchange of cryptocurrency for goods and services. Cryptospend co-founder, Andrew Grech said that the partnership was to meet growing user demands for a card and their desires to spend their cryptocurrency at shops, pubs, etc. He said:

“Spending it directly is a more convenient way of selling it. We have a lot of demand for the card. If the market is green, someone could say it’s time to spend some of my profits. On the other side of the fence, another person might say it’s going to keep going up, I’ll hold onto it. But we have seen more spending volume when the price is going up.”

The fast-growing company which was founded by University of Technology, Sydney students Andrew Grech and Richard Voice started off with the primary objective of integrating cryptocurrency with existing payment systems in Australia. It launched the Cryptospend app last October and has seen its user base grow by 100 new users monthly. Co-founder Richard Voice expects the new service to usher in more users when it is available to the broader market. He is also optimistic that the Bitcoin debit card will garner public acceptance and utility.

He said:

“You will find some people hold until Bitcoin hits X price, but you will find other people that say ‘I have made $400 today, I am going to use my CryptoSpend card at the pub tonight.”

Easy to Buy BTC

Asides helping users to save conversion costs, the newly approved card which allows for seamless purchases using Bitcoin gives a real illustration of what the highly sought-after cryptocurrency-backed economy will look like. This may push the Reserve Bank of Australia to reconsider its dismissive stance on cryptocurrencies. Barely two weeks ago, the country’s apex bank stated in a report submitted to the ‘Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre’ that cryptocurrencies “are rarely used or accepted as a means of payment, they are not used as a unit of account, and their prices can be very volatile, and so they are a poor store of value”.

The hardline stance seemed to echo the sentiments of executives at the upper echelon of the apex bank. In February this year, Queensland Liberal National Party member Julian Simmonds asked the Reserve Bank’s assistant Governor for financial systems, Michelle Bullock if she viewed cryptocurrencies as a financial risk, she responded saying:

“Bitcoin is not a payment instrument and it’s not even really money. I think there is a lot of fuss about it as a potential asset.”

Perhaps, Cryptospend’s Bitcoin debit card will help change the RBA’s view on cryptocurrencies.

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