The Bitcoin Payments company BitPay have just launched a new payment card that promises to help U.S. residents acquire and use Bitcoin much more easily in the future. Based around the VISA infrastructure, it allows residents of all 50 states to have access to a simple way of converting Bitcoin into local currency via ATM machines, and spending directly anywhere that accepts VISA. Finding a solution that is easy to use for customers is an important step in gaining the wider adoption digital currencies need to move forward.
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Buying and selling Bitcoin has never been simple, and perhaps a little late in the day, new ideas have begun to emerge to bridge the gap between the fiat monetary system and the digital currencies and allow easier purchase and use of Bitcoin. Several companies have recently launched payment cards that function like a standard Visa or MasterCard debit card, usable as a payment system in stores and to withdraw cash via ATM machines, but that take funding directly from a Bitcoin wallet.
A new one has just been launched, but unlike several others, this one is aimed squarely at the U.S. market, and is available in all 50 states. Issued on behalf of Bitcoin Payments company BitPay by Metropolitan Commercial Bank, it enables users the ability to load bitcoin, make payments at in store Visa payment facilities and withdraw cash at Visa ATMs. The card costs $9.95 to purchase, and there are fees for ATM withdrawals in common with other payment card solutions, however loading the card itself is free, and this is often a cause of concern for users as with some cards can attract a significant fee.
The progression on the various solutions for buying, selling and spending Bitcoin are signs of a healthy cryptocurrency industry, recognizing the limitations of the digital currency medium and seeking ways to bridge the longstanding issues that have undoubtedly discouraged users from adopting Bitcoin. BitPay’s solution is important as it is one of the few available throughout every state in the U.S., and therefore has the potential to reach a huge market that have possibly been put off by online exchanges and so on before.
In an ideal world, the cryptocurrency industry would be widely adopted and Bitcoin could operate entirely within its own ecosystem, where people could have their earnings paid in Bitcoin, they could use Bitcoin to purchase goods wherever needed and pay for their overheads such as housing, energy and so on with it as well. That is something that is far away though, and needs a much broader user base to get there, and so measures to help people discover and use digital currencies more easily is an incredibly important focus.