BitPay Begins Enforcing Bitcoin Payment Protocol Compatibility Requirement for its Debit Card

Not too long ago, it became clear BitPay was going to enforce some big changes. More specifically, the company announced the introduction of the Bitcoin Payment Protocol. The main reason for this change is to further create seamless and secure payment experiences. According to their latest blog post, a big first step has been taken toward enforcing this protocol. All orders of the BitPay Card requirement a payment from Payment Protocol-compatible wallets.

A lot of Bitcoin enthusiasts are well aware of the BitPay Card. It is a convenient solution to spend Bitcoin in more retail locations, both online and offline. Until more merchants accept BTC directly, such intermediary tools will remain popular. Anyone looking to order this card will notice there is a slight change in the order process. More specifically, they can’t pay for it unless the transaction is sent from a wallet supporting the Bitcoin Payment Protocol.

BitPay Card and Payment Protocol Support

As BitPay wants to create more secure payment experiences, this change is only the beginning. The company firmly believes in its own software and tools. Introducing the Payment Protocol requirement will certainly herald some changes over time. Quite a few wallets support this solution already, which is good to see. The rest will either have to upgrade or risk losing functionality with all future BitPay services at some point. After all, this compatibility requirement will also affect QR code and online payments in the future.

Among the compatible wallets are Copay, Electrum, and Mycelium. The default BitPay client also works, which is only to be expected. It is unclear if any other wallets have plans to integrate Payment Protocol support as well. Given the wide range of wallet options out there, it is evident a lot of work still needs to be done. Any wallet not supporting this feature won’t be able to complete the BitPay Card order whatsoever.

As one would expect, BitPay will continue to enforce this requirement in the future. For now, the team works with other wallet providers to integrate this feature. It seems the overall response to payment Protocol is pretty positive. The company is still looking for user feedback regarding this change as well. The next step will focus on Payment Protocol-only support for topping up one’s BitPay Card. In the future, all BitPay invoices can only be paid through this new feature. An interesting future awaits Bitcoin, that much is rather evident.

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More competition in the world of cryptocurrency debit cards is never a bad thing. Although there are a dozen of different cards already, London Block Exchange claims they offer something unique. The Visa card is mainly designed for Bitcoin users, although other virtual currencies are supported as well. The goal is to launch this card within a few weeks from now. A pretty ambitious goal for a company virtually no one has heard of until now.

London Block Exchange is a UK-based company. The website was only launched a few days ago as well. It is rather interesting to see then offer a cryptocurrency debit card already. Very few people even knew this company existed, let alone they have a Visa partnership. More specifically, the company will let users convert to Bitcoin and altcoin holdings to pounds as a way to spend money. This business model is not unique to this company, mind you, as several others have tried and tested it already. There is always room for more competition in this industry, though.

Yet Another Cryptocurrency Debit Card Provider

The card is known as the Dragoncard. It is merely designed to counter some consumer criticisms of Bitcoin. Unlike what most people think, BTC is a currency and not just a commodity. Using a debit card is a backward way to spend Bitcoin, though. Until more merchants accept BC, there is very little that can be done. There will be a 0.5$ fee for using the Dragoncard, though. This is on par with most other companies active in the cryptocurrency debit card scene right now.

For the time being, it remains unclear if the card has any other costs. Most companies charge a fee for issuing the card in physical form. London Block Exchange is not just focusing their attention on a debit card, though. Instead, they also have a digital wallet app and a cryptocurrency exchange. All of these features have yet to be unveiled to the public, though. For now, the launch is scheduled for December 2017, although things may still change. Issuing such a card is not as easy as it sounds.

Given how new this company is and its lack of reputation, it remains to be seen if this offer is genuine. There are a lot of members of the team, although a website itself doesn’t mean anything these days.  Always be wary when new ventures like this come along. Especially if they involve relatively unknown companies which have everything to prove at this point. We welcome new competitors in this market, though, but there have been numerous scams to make people wary as well.

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Japan’s largest Bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer, have announced that they will launch a Bitcoin debit card powered by Visa. This development will bring the ever-growing Japanese crypto market closer to being able to use Bitcoin at a variety of locations accepting Visa cards.

According to bitFlyer, the cards will facilitate the spending of crypto at “more than 40 million merchants in more than 200 countries and regions.” However, purchases won’t actually be made using Bitcoin. They will be made with Japanese yen. The card just facilitates the instant exchange of Bitcoin for government-backed currency.

Applications for the cards opened with their initial announcement on Friday, and will end on October 22. With only 1,000 cards up for grabs, there will be a draw to determine the eventual recipients.

However, there are quite harsh limits on just how much a customers can use their bitFlyer prepay debit cards. They cannot load it with more than around $250 at a time, and the monthly limit is just shy of $1,000. If that wasn’t enough, the maximum lifetime limit of the cards are around $7,500 and the balance on which cannot exceed $754.25 at any one time. Finally, each card will expire after only 5 years. Such limits suggest that the scheme may be a testing ground for later ventures. By keeping the total number of customers in possession of one of the cards down to just 1,000, they should be able to identify and solve any issues that occur with them before a potential widespread release. This remains the author’s opinion, however, and there is nothing else from bitFlyer to back up this notion.

The cards being launched by bitFlyer are not the first Visa-powered, prepay cards which can be loaded with Bitcoin. Quite a few cryptocurrency ICOs are currently trying to make an impact on the ever-contested space. Atlanta-based BitPay announced earlier in 2017 that they would launch their own card that could be used in 131 legal jurisdictions. However, their offering has run into a few issues since it was launched. Chief among these is delays affecting transactions. Trials like these could be the reasoning behind bitFlyer’s decision to create such a bafflingly small number of cards.

However, one of the principle difference between the bitFlyer scheme and those of others within the space is the lack of fees the former is striving for. The company have announced that there will be no admission, annual, or usage fees.

This breaks from the current industry norms as third party services providers could make money from funding, transaction, and other service related fees.

To qualify to enter the bitFlyer draw, you must have an active account with the exchange, and submit the necessary identification documents. There are also references on the website to a mobile companion application being developed by Vandle.

Image source: Visa

The world of cryptocurrency debit cards is getting more competitive. Some new players have emerged with an ICO as of late. Both TenX and MonaCo will be making some significant waves in the coming months, by the look of things. Speaking of TenX, they are working on various improvements to make things more exciting for token holders. Storing these tokens on exchanges could prove to be a very bad idea, to say the least.

It is good to see more competitors emerge in the world of cryptocurrency debit cards. These projects are a great way to make currencies more spendable in the real world. Bitcoin cards, for example, are far more commonly used than most people give them credit for. It now appears Ethereum-oriented debit cards will be making some waves as well. Both TenX and MonaCo are inching closer to releasing their cards and mobile applications. It will be an intriguing competition, to say the least.

TenX and MonaCo Spice up the Debit Card Industry

Speaking of TenX, they are looking to get listed on additional exchanges. Yunbi is a top priority right now. Gaining a foothold in the Chinese market can do wonders for any debit card-oriented company. Digital payments and non-ash solutions are very popular in China. An Ethereum debit card with its own native token offering rewards will certainly make an impact. Now that the currency is listed on this platform, things will get very interesting for sure.

Moreover, it seems people storing their TenX tokens on exchanges may be punished. More precisely, the tokens award holders with a 0.5% reward. However, the team is contemplating to exclude the coins held on exchanges and in the internal TenX contract. This makes a lot of sense, as the rewards should never go to exchanges in the first place. Incentivizing users to store their tokens privately is a good choice. This decision has not been finalized yet, though. Once again, an interesting proposal that can set a new standard for similar projects in the future.

The TenX debit cards themselves should start arriving by late September of 2017. MonaCo will take orders for their cards at the end of this month. Who will be first to deliver the goods remains to be determined right now. We can only hope to see some great competition between both of these projects. Such cards can mean positive things for Ethereum as well. Up until now, the average person has no clue why they should spend ETH on goods and services. That may all come to change in the near future, thanks to these projects.

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A lot of people like to use a Bitcoin debit card. Even though it is not the “pure” way to spend Bitcoin, it is a good alternative. Tens of thousands of merchants around the world accept card payments, both online and in-store. Bitwala is one of the many Bitcoin companies issuing cryptocurrency debit cards. Unfortunately, it appears they have introduced new limits, which most people are not too happy about.

Cryptocurrency debit card providers have to adhere to strict regulations. This is part of the reason why users need to verify their identity to lift card limits. After all, companies such as Bitwala want to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Unfortunately, these new limitations do not bode well for anyone using Bitwala’s debit card in the European Union. Unverified card holders are hit with new limits which make using the card nearly impossible.

Bitwala Introduces Lower Limits for Unverified Users

More specifically, unverified card holders can’t have a balance of over 250 EUR on their card. That is only normal, as these cards already have low spending limits. However, it will no longer be possible to withdraw over 100 EUR per transaction. Nor can users complete card transactions for more than 100 EUR either, unless they verify their identity. This latter part will not sit well with a lot of Bitwala customers.

These new changes are the direct result of a new EU regulation amendment proposal. Apparently, the EU wants to make changes to the 4th Money Laundering Directive moving forward. Bitwala is preparing for when these regulations are approved, as that appears to be merely a matter of time. It is evident anonymous payment solutions are on the radar of government officials right now. Companies need to be proactive in this regard, especially if they are linked to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

The bigger question is whether or not further limits will be imposed to verified users. It is certainly possible users may need to submit additional verification in the future. The European Union is not a fan of any anonymous payment tools. Moreover, they aim to further regulate prepaid debit card service providers. Other debit card service providers may be affected by this proposal in the future.

Debit cards have slowly earned their place in the world of cryptocurrency. Quite a few different cards are available already. Most of these tools support Bitcoin, albeit TokenCard plans to do things differently. In fact, the plan is to issue a new debit card which allows users to spend any digital asset they want. This is quite a novel approach, to say the least.

TokenCard and WaveCrest Debit Card

In the world of cryptocurrency debit cards, there are many different products available. However, users can mainly use Bitcoin and no other currencies. Moreover, some cards immediately convert the deposit to fiat currency, which is not something everyone likes. The biggest problem is not being able to spend the cryptocurrency one wants. Especially Ethereum and its ERC20 tokens have seen little love from debit card companies.

That situation will come to change very soon. WaveCrest is partnering with TokenCard to issue a brand new digital asset debit card. More specifically, the goal is to create a card that operates entirely by using smart contracts. This means any ERC20 token on the Ethereum protocol can be used for everyday purchases. This is a tremendous boost for most of these tokens, as their real life use cases are often limited.

It is good to see these tokens get a new use case. Right now, most of these assets are subject to mere speculation. That could end up hurting the projects using these tokens in the future. Moreover, a lot of tokens are not compatible with other blockchain-based projects. Having a way to buy up cheap value tokens during an ICO and using them as a way to fund one’s debit card is quite intriguing. It remains a bit unclear when this product will come to market, though.

In the end, it is good to see more competition in the debit card world. Only relying on Bitcoin is not a good policy in the world of cryptocurrency. More specifics are expected to be unveiled in the future with no specific dates announced.  Rest assured the entire Ethereum ecosystem is quite pleased with this development.

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Obtaining new rupee banknotes in India remains a big struggle to his very day. Nearly a month after the cash ban had gone into effect, a lot of residents are still waiting in line outside bank branches. Thanks to Snapdeal, it is now possible to purchase new bills online and have them delivered to a home address. Orders can be placed with debit cards, and there is one rupee commission.

Things have gotten out of hand rather quickly in India. With banks unable to meet the new rupee banknote demand, a lot of consumers are left in the cold. Moreover, there is no improvement in sight regarding the distribution of new notes. But thankfully, SnapDeal has started offering the online sale of these bank notes, allowing residents to purchase cash with their debit card. A rather change turn of events, to say the least.

An Odd Way To Obtain New Banknotes

Snapdeal added the rupee notes to their products they have been offering for some time now. Orders of up to 2,0000 rupees worth of cash can be completed through the platform. Moreover, Snapdeal couriers have portable POS devices, allowing them to swipe consumer debit cards. An interesting tactic, but it also creates a new logistical problem. It is very difficult to distinguish between legitimate Snapdeal couriers, and those looking to steal debit card information.

This new pilot program is only available in a few Indian cities right now. Snapdeal receives a lot of new rupee note from cash-on-delivery transactions. In India, a lot of items ordered online are paid cash on delivery. Rather odd compared to how things are done in the Western world, but over there, it is the norm.

A lot of Indians are now forced to switch to digital payments. For the people who have access to a debit card, Snapdeal is a great alternative. But the rest of the population will have to wait at banks or ATMs to get new banknotes. The rich seem to benefit from the average consumer’s misery once again.

Working around the cash shortage in India has become a puzzle. Banks are experimenting with ATM buses, and it is possible to hire people who will stand in line for you. But all of these ”solutions” only highlight the underlying problem. Banning banknotes overnight was not a smart decision, especially as there was no clear plan of action in place.

All of this financial turmoil can be seen as positive news for Bitcoin. Obtaining cryptocurrency in India with cash is possible, and the trading volume on Localbitcoins continues to go up month over month. But it would take far more convenient solutions to make Bitcoin boom in the country, and the rest of the world.

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Coinbase is known to capture new markets and introduce new features on a regular basis. Keeping up with the trend, the leading cryptocurrency platform recently announced the inclusion of credit and debit card payments for its European customers.

Coinbase’s new offering is influenced by its performance in the home country, United States. In its blog, the company states that over forty percent of all cryptocurrency purchase in the US is made by using credit and debit cards. With the inclusion of new payment option, the company intends to replicate the same success story in the European market as well.

Until recently, Coinbase supported only credit card deposits in the US. The company finally announced the inclusion of debit card option earlier this year, which has turned out to be a great success. Now, the company is offering the same to other countries including Singapore, Canada and now Europe.

However, the solution allows its users in certain geographies to only buy digital currency with their cards. Upon launching the service in Canada, Coinbase explicitly mentioned that its customers in the North American nation can only buy digital currency at the moment.

As the company continues to go ahead with its expansion spree, Coinbase is currently available in 33 countries across the world including Canada and Australia where the platform offers only “Buy” option.  In order to use the card payment option, the user has to navigate to the payment methods section on both website and mobile app and select card payment.

Complaints Galore Continues

On the other side, the company is struggling to cope up with increasing user complaints. Many users have taken to the social media platforms complaining either about alleged bugs in the platform or poor customer service. The latest complaint on the social media platform, Reddit concerns both.

One of the Redditors claims that the company has been unable to solve his issue for over 6 weeks. The delay, combined with a bug in the Bitcoin recovery tool is said to have delayed a withdrawal of around 50 bitcoins worth $28,721.  After repeated attempts to get a satisfactory answer, the OP had posted the issue on Reddit.

In his latest update —  ” Thank you Coinbase support for reaching out to me and really trying to figure this out fast. We narrowed down the problem and it seems all the funds from the vault will be able to be withdrawn soon, ” the customer finally seems to be satisfied with the progress since making the issue public.

While many customers are put through a lot of inconvenience by multiple issues and slow response on Coinbase’s part, it is something to be expected. Coinbase seems to be going through one of the major problems most startups that grow “too big too soon” experience.  It is better for the company to have less yet happy customers than a large number of disgruntled ones.  Hope the company wakes up and fixes the problems plaguing its platform and customer support process soon.

Ref: Coinbase |Reddit |Image: Coinbase


There has been a lot of talk about whether or not Uber is suddenly accepting Bitcoin payments in Argentina. One of the company’s tweets seemed to indicate this change, albeit any official reference to has been removed ever since. Moreover, there was an email sent out to Xapo users further confirming using Bitcoin through Uber Argentina.

For quite some time now, people have been wondering if and when Uber would start accepting Bitcoin payments. Considering how this ride-hailing application automatically bills clients once their ride has been completed, Bitcoin integration seemed rather difficult. But Xapo, a company known for their Bitcoin web wallet and debit card service, appears to state otherwise.

Xapo Cards Work With Uber

One thing most people are aware of is how very few Argentines have access to a credit card. Moreover, the users who do so may have noticed their card is not compatible with the Uber service. Xapo cards, on the other hand, can be used with Uber from now on, giving Bitcoin users indirect access to the ride-hailing service.

Apparently, the company has secured a partnership with Uber Argentina to allow for this type of functionality. Additionally, Uber users will receive special discounts once they added their Xapo card to the Uber app. For example, customers can use the “UBERconBTC” to receive 100 free pesos, which can be used for their first Uber ride.

Interestingly enough, the Argentinian government has not been too keen on letting individuals use their credit card with the Uber service. Things have gotten to a point where no Argentinian credit cards are accepted within the application itself. Since Xapo cards are not issued by a bank in Argentina, users can bypass these restrictions with relative ease.

Not A Perfect Solution

This shows off the strength of Bitcoin compared to the centralized banking system. Since there is no to control Bitcoin, blocking the payment method is very difficult. Especially when an intermediary service such as Xapo is being used. For the time being, it remains to be seen how long this “trick” will continue to work, though.

It is important to keep in mind Uber Argentina is not actively endorsing Bitcoin payments at this stage. The company does acknowledge using Bitcoin through a Xapo debit card providers a way to access the service. Moreover, users are still required to use two different third-party services to make this work, which is not ideal. But in the end, it is another use case for Bitcoin, albeit not in its pure and decentralized form.

Source: Reddit

Header image courtesy of Uber

Bank accounts are very convenient, as long as customers can access their funds at any given time. Citibank users will have experienced some issues in this regard. Customers in several US states were unable to access their accounts on Friday, due to a “technical issue.”

Putting one’s trust in a bank or another financial institution is quite a challenge these days. After all, these are the same companies who caused the financial crisis we are dealing with to date. For most consumers, however, having a bank account is second nature, and there is no direct need to change a winning system.

Citibank Users Take To Social Media

At the same time, it is also the obligation of said bank to provide customers with access to their funds at all times. Technical difficulties can occur at any given time, but they will affect a lot of customers. The recent Citibank issue goes to show how bad things can get when relying on centralized services.

When users across different US states took to social media, the scope of this Citigroup outage became evident. As a result of this undisclosed technical issue, consumers could not access their bank accounts through PC or mobile banking. Moreover, debit card transactions were not possible, and withdrawing from an ATM would cause issues as well. Not a fun experience on a Friday, or any other day, for that matter.

This is another excellent example of how the traditional financial ecosystem is failing left, right, and center. When consumers cannot access their funds or make transactions, there is no point in using a bank. Cash is always a better option in this regard, even though it can be annoying to deal with. Trusting a centralized entity which actually controls one’s money should not be something to look forward to. Despite all of the warning signs, consumers continue to do so.

Bitcoin is a far better way to store funds and transact in real-life. The cryptocurrency offers financial freedom, free from the shackles of any bank or government in the world. Moreover, there is a global appeal to this one currency, rather than dealing with foreign exchange processes. Although adoption of Bitcoin remains relatively small for the time being, the cryptocurrency is the only way to achieve complete financial freedom.

Source: Reuters

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