Bitcoin is no longer just a currency of the internet as it can now be spent at any brick and mortar shop, filling station, restaurant or any other business premises that offers Visa and MasterCard as a payment option. This is on top of the added benefit of withdrawing the cash equivalent of your Bitcoin account from any ATM. E-coin is at the forefront of this and has plans to keep it that way for the foreseeable future and will be announcing more developments in the coming weeks ahead.
There are a number of companies out there offering these debit cards and I cannot fault any of them other than they aren’t innovating and improving on the ease of use that e-coin is offering to their customers.
E-coin has surpassed 100,000 users with 15,000 cards issued and processing over $2 million in monthly volume in their first year of existence. It already gives free insurance on your account as do others and also has a multi-sig option available.
In the last few days e-coin has announced a benefit to using their services over others with the addition of integrating BitGo Instant deposits. When I first opened my account to deposit Bitcoin you had to wait for three verifications which on average took around 30 minutes, now it requires none, is instant and comes with a full financial guarantee.
Tim Frost the VP of Marketing and Business Development at e-coin says;
“Our goal is to continue to lead innovation in the Bitcoin card industry. We have some more game changing announcements to make soon. We aim to make Bitcoin more user friendly by offering the ability to use it anywhere.”
Anyone reading this who has been involved in the Bitcoin space over the last seven years will know that the options to pay for anything for the first few years were very limited. Although the number of merchants excepting it online has grown exponentially since, for the average consumer this just wasn’t enough to entice them to start using it.
I personally see these Bitcoin debit cards as the most innovative way to bring new users into the ecosystem and help bring about mainstream adoption of the digital currency. The majority of consumers are creatures of habit and still have faith in their transactions when connected with a tried and tested payment method that has been around for a long period of time.
This form of transition keeps both merchants and consumers within their comfort zone while at the same time increasing use as a payment option, causing transactions on the Blockchain to rise continually and slowly gaining the trust of newcomers using these debit cards that Bitcoin is a viable and trustworthy option.
Living on the border of the North and South of Ireland has made me realise the benefits these cards bring in regards to foreign exchange. I can have both a Euro and British Pound card which eliminates the costs of exchanging one currency to another and vice versa again.
I can travel anywhere on the island with my e-coin cards using Bitcoin in my account and the two different currencies accepted here are made irrelevant to me.
There is great amusement in entering a McDonalds or KFC and asking them do they accept Bitcoin, the look on their faces when you say you are paying with a digital currency and them saying they don’t except those YET, only to see the debit card payment accepted.
This is definitely the biggest game changer I have seen in my four years of involvement with Bitcoin and it is fascinating to see the digital currency sceptics’ change in perception when they see the Visa or MasterCard logo connected with spending your digital currency.
It has made me realise that we are getting to where it was intended to go, only it will take time and Bitcoin will be rising in use behind the scenes from the average consumer in the transition to full mainstream adoption.