Blockchain projects often tend to fall into particular categories such as distributed computed, prediction markets, or smart contract provision. Cryptocurrency start-ups have a tendency to congregate in particular sectors and battle it out for supremacy, once such sector involves the provision of cryptocurrency debit cards.
Recently, a number of start-ups have ventured into the area and sought to put pressure on already established card providers. This year, TenX, Monaco, and Centra have all thrown their hats into a ring that was already inhabited by companies such as Bitpay, Xapo, and Wirex. On top of this, blockchain banking services providers such as Change, Worldcore, and Bankera are also working to provide their customers with cryptocurrency debit card options.
This is clearly a thriving sector and banking services represent an area that naturally suits disruption by blockchain based businesses. The potential for quick gains must also be difficult to resist as the trio of TenX, Monaco, and Centra all held lucrative ICOs earlier this year. TenX raised over $83M during their June ICO and their PAY token has risen in value from $0.80 at the time of the ICO to around $1.70.
Monaco were able to raise just over $25M during their June ICO and sold their MCO token to investors at a price of $2.84. MCO now trades at around $5.80, which has resulted in a potential ROI of over 200% for investors. The Centra crowdsale drew in just under $50M during their September crowdsale, however their team has performed poorly and this has resulted in the Centra token dropping from $0.70 t0 $0.40.
Despite Centra’s mixed fortunes, cryptocurrency debit cards are one of the more successful areas related to blockchain enterprises. They also benefit from a good amount of community support and goodwill as cryptocurrency enthusiasts rightly identify crypto debit cards as being a key component to achieving mass adoption.
Crypto debit cards allow for the seamless integration of cryptocurrencies with the established world of fiat, and make spending cryptos way more efficient. They also allow for the less technically savvy to get involved with cryptocurrencies without the need to understand all the background working of Bitcoin or Ethereum, for example.
Highs and Lows
As can be expected, the sector is prone to experiencing ups and downs, and crypto debit card providers received a massive boost when Visa Inc. announced that it has approved a prepaid card backed by the cryptocurrency Monaco as it ventures into digital currencies.
Monaco’s prepaid card has been approved for issuance to Singaporean residents, and Visa admitted to being shocked by the high demand for the cards as over 17,000 cards were reserved based solely on word of mouth.
Kris Marszalek, Monaco’s chief executive officer, added “This is an important step towards Monaco’s vision to introduce cryptocurrency to the mass market.”
Visa enjoys a payments network of around 44 million merchants and any debit card tuned in to this network is more than a step closer to gaining mass adoption. In addition to approving Monaco, Visa has also approved programs for BitPay and Shift Card that allow consumers to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat and deposit those funds into a bank account that is linked to a Visa debit or prepaid card.
This good news followed an earlier disappointing release by TenX that revealed their debit card issuer, Wave Crest Holdings, has stopped issuing cards outside of Europe. TenX ran into problems with regulators as they were seen to be running a bank without a license. As a result, TenX, cannot issue Visa cards in most territories, however, they are able to do so in Europe as Wave Crest has the necessary banking license.
From October 16 The TenX Visa; which can convert Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DASH into fiat currencies, will only work in Europe and a number of other countries such as Israel and Turkey. TenX will be unavailable to inhabitants of the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific. Until TenX finds a replacement card issuer, those living in these regions will beunable to use their services.
This news should result in crypto debit card service providers devoting more time and energy to researching banking legislation, and implementing strategies that best suit their particular objectives.
Despite these initial setbacks, the future seems bright for crypto debit cards, and it is just a matter of time before they are more widely accepted, and therefore more visible. The merger of cryptocurrencies with traditional banking systems via debit card payment networks will be a crucial step forward in the race to mass adoption.
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