Bitcoin debit cards have serious potential at being a massive player in bringing in new adopters to the digital currency ecosystem. Of all the new protocols and products that has entered the market over the last twelfth months, it is the one that I have witnessed most naysayers and those on the fence take most notice off.
Consumers and merchants alike seem to be creatures of comfort when it comes to ways to pay and receive payment for their products and an old familiar name like Visa or MasterCard attached to a debit card gives them a seemingly false sense of security to use and accept it.
I remember when CoinKite first released their debit card that could only be used at their terminals. I ordered one immediately and thought it great to show off to people even though I would have to wait a year or so later for a merchant in my province to have a terminal to use it at.
The difference these Visa, MasterCard and Discovery Bitcoin debit cards bring to the ecosystem is you can spend your digital currency anywhere now from your local grocery store, fuel station or even the big name supermarkets like Asda, Marks & Spencer’s and Tesco, the options are the same for purchasing as with your RBS, NatWest or any other UK bank issued card.
Other benefits they bring to the arena is the ability to shop online on any website worldwide or to take your sterling or euros equivalent out at any ATM, some of these debit cards have low fees and cash withdrawals are instant, you just type in your four digit code like with your other cards.
The largest issuers of these Bitcoin debit cards are Xapo, E-Coin and ANX although there are many other companies and exchanges offering this option now and I have yet to hear any issues or complaints from anyone using any brand of them.
Topping up and using your card funds is as simple as depositing your digital currency into your wallet and spending it in-store, online or withdrawing your pounds at the exchange rate equivalent at the time of the transaction.
Apart from the spending and withdrawal benefits these cards bring to those that use them, the biggest benefit I have found is using the high volatility of Bitcoins price to enhance your purchasing power.
Remember Bitcoin was the best preforming currency in the world in 2015 so if you were to keep an eye on the price and watch for dips, buy and hold for a price rise and spend, from looking over the last few months charts would increase your purchasing power anywhere within the range of 20% to 100% plus month on month.
If you had your eye on an Xbox One at £249 in Argos and were to have bought £125 worth of Bitcoin on the 2nd of October past held it until November 4th not only could you have bought your Xbox One but also have had nearly £100 extra to spend on games and a controller.
This has to be a very positive advantage to the digital currencies volatility that we hear so much negativity about in the mainstream press as to why it isn’t a viable payment method.
The new motto of users should be “buy low, spend high” and increase consumer and merchant adoption in the process.