Leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced today the launch of ‘Coinbase Card’, a VISA debit card that allows Coinbase customers in the UK to spend their cryptocurrency as easily as the cash in their bank.
Announced in a blog post on Wednesday, the Coinbase Card will connect to users’ Coinbase account balances, and allow them to pay in-store at any VISA-compatible point of sale device.
The Coinbase Card will instantly convert crypto to a fiat currency — in this case, GBP — which the merchant receives. At present, the Coinbase card is only available to customers within the UK, but the exchange plans on rolling out support across Europe over the next few months.
According to the blog post, the first 1,000 people to join the waitlist for the Coinbase Card will receive it for free, but typically an issuance fee of £4.95 will apply. In addition, transaction fees may apply depending on the type of transaction; although domestic purchases are free, the FAQ lists cryptocurrency liquidation fees of 2.49%.
The launch is supported by the Coinbase Card app, which allows users to select which of their Coinbase wallets they will allocate to the Coinbase Card. Payments in all cryptocurrencies listed on Coinbase are supported.
A Giant Leap For Adoption
This is a phenomenal step towards the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies. Coinbase is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with over 20 million users, and for many is the only feasible on-ramp for cryptocurrency investments.
Earlier this week, Pundi X and DoshEx announced a partnership to bring similar cryptocurrency adoption to the streets of South Africa in the form of a point of sale device — ‘XPOS’ — and its corresponding payment card. Coinbase have certainly taken a more streamlined approach.
Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, made headlines last August when they teased the launch of Bakkt, a cryptocurrency exchange set to have its payment processing technology tested in Starbucks. Regulatory concerns in the US — namely from the CFTC — have seen the service suffer from repeated delays, however.
Indeed, if the UK and Europe launches of the Coinbase Card see high demand, US regulators may be inclined to relax their approach to cryptocurrencies to avoid being left behind by the rest of the world.