The cryptocurrency debit card launched by Coinbase, one of the largest and most popular crypto trading exchanges in the world, will now be available in roughly six more countries. These nations include Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Ireland.
Crypto Can Finally Be Used for Purchases
Users will have the opportunity to spend their Litecoin, Ethereum or bitcoin stashes at any stores or online granted the merchants in question take Visa cards. The product works just like a standard debit card, though instead of paying with fiat from one’s bank account, a person is paying with crypto from their digital currency account.
Digital currency was always designed to serve as a method of payment. From the beginning, crypto was built to give financial freedom and independence back to the people who would use it, though digital currencies have often been prone to massive volatility and unpredictable price swings. This has made things very difficult for merchants and retailers, who have no guarantee that the money they accept as payment will remain “as is.”
For example, if a person pays for $100 worth of merchandise with crypto, there’s a good chance that the next day the amount will fall in price, meaning that $100 suddenly turns into $90. It’s not necessarily fair to the retailer; the customer walks off with $100 worth of products, but the store has missed out on ten dollars of profit that they rightly earned. In cases like these, only the customers benefit. Not the retailers.
However, this is potentially becoming much easier with the introduction of ventures like Flexa, which seeks to ease the difficulties of accepting crypto as payment for merchants. Some of the stores that have partnered with the company include Nordstrom, Jamba Juice and Whole Foods, and the enterprise is adding more names each day.
The Coinbase card was originally launched back in April through something of a pilot program. Initially, only 1,000 cards were released to users, though this number ultimately became small beans compared with the number of cards that are being applied for and used today. Coinbase U.K. CEO Zeeshan Feroz comments that the figures are much higher than anyone at the exchange could have anticipated.
He attributes this, among many things, to the card’s ease of use. He says that using the card is just as easy as using a traditional debit card, stating:
You can buy groceries on bitcoin and then coffee on Litecoin right after.
Coinbase Is Looking to Grow Further
At press time, the card comes in two forms: physical, which people can use to withdraw money through cryptocurrency ATMs, or as a mobile app that’s directly linked to their Coinbase accounts.
Feroz claims that the company is looking to expand the card’s breadth further, but that they need to find the right banking partners first.