Three years ago, in December 2015, John LeFevre, creator of@GSElevator on Twitter, wrote The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide to New Year’s Resolutions.
One of his recommendations said:
Invest in a Bitcoin wallet. Because it will be the best-performing currency in 2016.
Those who followed it, at the end of 2016 were much richer people. In 2016 bitcoin appreciated by 120%, easily beating 20% gains posted by the Brazilian Real and the Russian Ruble.
Although at the end of 2018 bitcoin costs four times as much as it did three years ago, we all know that the year has been a hard one. Only in November bitcoin lost 36% of its value. Probably, at the moment recommending to buy cryptocurrencies is not a good idea, because you may find it awkward to talk to your relatives and friends whom you convinced to do it.
However, a bitcoin debit car might be an appealing gift, for Christmas or for some other holiday. Or you may opt for a Bitcoin Gift Card. If bitcoin appreciates, you get gratitude from the person you gave the present to, if it depreciates, you lose nothing.
To those who deal a lot with cryptocurrencies, bitcoin debit cards are becoming a necessity. At present it is easy to order a debit card and connect it to the bitcoin balance. It is Christmas, so treat yourself! You can choose a cheap utilitarian card or something expensive with a posh name and design.
The number of companies that accept bitcoin as payment is growing, but sometimes using bitcoin can be awkward. Bloomberg reports, how one of the University of Puget Sound’s alumni decided to make a gift to his alma mater in crypto, and the University was baffled by this donation. A bitcoin debit card would have come handy in this situation.
Bitcoin debit cards are prepaid debit cards that usually have a Visa or a Mastercard logo. They are much like regular debit cards, but owners top them up with bitcoin which is then converted into fiat. Bitcoin is drawn from a cryptocurrency wallet instead of a bank account. When one makes a purchase using the crypto card, an amount of crypto coins is automatically exchanged for fiat currency, and sent to the merchant. It is done fast and seamlessly.
In this text we will tell you how to choose such a card, what to pay attention to and what to avoid at all costs.
- The first thing to avoid is scam cards. Surely, you heard some hype about Floyd Mayweather, one of the best defensive boxers in history, and music producer DJ Khaled, who were promoting the ICO of Centra Tech Inc. But we are interested not in their recent settlement with the SEC. This story is about the Centra card they were promoting.
Centra’s ICO raised $32 million from investors, and its co-CEOs said the money would be used to build a debit card for cryptocurrencies through a partnership with Visa. The trouble was that Visa never heard about this intention because the company never applied to run Centra cards on the Visa network. So avoid scam cards. And try to find some information about the card provider: it is not unlikely that the company has already announced its plans to close the project.
- On January, 5, 2018 many popular Visa’s bitcoin debit cards suddenly stopped working because Visa suspended the WaveCrest Startups that provided the major part of such cards on the market. The reason was a compliance issue. There is always a risk that something like this may occur again.
- Mind that you BTC and other digital coins will be controlled by a third-party. However, you can reduce this risk by depositing a small amount of your Bitcoins into card balance.
- Check where the card can be used. Some of the most popular bitcoin debit cards can’t be used, for example, in the US.
- Visit the card provider’s website to see if its English version is really good. Sometimes it is not, and you would not want to hand the reigns over your money to someone whom you are not able to understand.
- Check what fiat currencies the bitcoin debit card supports. If you need EUR and GBP, the card that supports only USD may be useless for you.
- Conversion rate. Normally, foreign currency conversion fees vary from 1% to 5%, but some cards offer no bitcoin conversion fees.
- ATM transaction fee. That would start from 1% of the transaction, otherwise the card may have a flat rate: from $2.5 to $3.5 USD. Also check the number of ATMs at which the card can be used. There may also be a limit on daily maximum withdrawal.
- Some providers offer virtual bitcoin debit cards only. Such cards are convenient for online shopping, but there may be trouble with cash withdrawal. Virtual cards have smaller monthly service fees – starting from $1. Plastic cards have bigger fees – from $15 per month.
- Some issuers provide access to their platform to unverified users (with limitations placed on unverified accounts), while other demand verification that involves submitting several proofs of identity, address documents and Skype interview. Verification can take up to 10 working days.
- There may also be some hidden fees, from fees for worldwide delivery (which may be free, or may be not) to issuance fee and inactivity penalties. Some projects require to hold their tokens for a certain period.
- Some bitcoin debit cards are linked directly to a certain wallet system, which is by all means convenient, but unfortunately works in several countries only.
You can find reviews about bitcoin cards here, here and here. There are dozens of bitcoin debit cards on the market already, and definitely there will be more. And if you are looking for a good present, a bitcoin debit card would certainly be appropriate. Either to yourself, or your relatives and friends.