Australians Will Soon Be Able to Spend Bitcoin with Visa Debit Cards
For the first time, Australian residents will soon have the ability to spend and use Bitcoin as a payment option through Visa debit cards. The startup CryptoSpend has entered into a deal with Visa, allowing the company’s users to access their Bitcoin wallets through their Visa cards.
Australia’s First Debit Card with Crypto Capabilities
CryptoSpend’s Visa debit card, which is being produced by Novatti, a Melborne-based digital banking and remittance company, will hold only Bitcoin. All Bitcoin-to-fiat conversions will happen after a payment is made, handled by Visa.
This is an important moment for Australia’s crypto adoption. While Visa has approved of cards that have crypto functionality before, and has even worked on making crypto more available to merchants, this is the first time that Australia will witness this type of accessibility.
This is largely due to Australian regulators’ apprehensive reaction to cryptocurrency. In March, the Select Committee on Technology and the Financial Centre argued that cryptocurrency is “rarely used or accepted as a means of payment” due to its volatility.
However, this may be inaccurate, as Andrew Grech, the co-founder of CryptoSpend, has noted that spending crypto via a debit card is highly sought after due to its efficiency. Grech says:
“We have a lot of demand for the card. If the market is green, someone could say it’s time to spend some of my profits. On the other side of the fence, another person might say it’s going to keep going up, I’ll hold onto it. But we have seen more spending volume when the price is going up.”
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has also been fearful of Bitcoin on an investment level, showing discomfort towards the prospects of a Bitcoin ETF ever occurring within the country. Although, they have recently asked the public to voice their opinion on the topic, suggesting that Australia’s regulatory bodies may be warming up to crypto, if the public desire is there.
Due to the anxious nature of the Australian government in this regard, Visa had to put Cryptospend through a rigorous investigation to ensure that everything was above board, in terms of privacy, KYC, and AML (anti-money laundering). This is, in part, because there has been no precedent for a debit card with crypto capabilities in Australia before.
Off-Ramps are a Necessity for Digital Asset Adoption
One of the most significant aspects of having a debit card connected to a Bitcoin wallet is that it offers an easy-to-use method of off-ramping. Essentially, an off-ramp is where you are able to convert your crypto to fiat, with an on-ramp being the ability to convert fiat to crypto.
Both are significant to crypto adoption, but off-ramping is especially important because it makes the industry more consumer-friendly. Usually, converting Bitcoin (or any crypto) to fiat is cumbersome, involving many steps and sometimes taking a long time before the fiat arrives in your bank account. However, having a card that directly converts this for you, allowing you to use it inside physical stores and with contactless payments is a huge plus for the industry as a whole.
It is worth noting that not only has Visa recognized the significance of crypto off-ramps, but so has Mastercard. In February, the payment gateway explained their stance on crypto, noting that they are aware of how important crypto cards for end-users, and that they are interested in facilitating consumer transactions, more so than investor transactions.
To see both Visa and Mastercard, the two biggest payment gateways on the globe, welcoming crypto is a positive sign for the future of the industry. These companies are necessary for giving people the option to use digital assets as a payment tool, rather than simply an investment tool.
CryptoSpend’s debit card is set to release in September. It will be intriguing to see whether other digital asset-integrated cards will soon get approval in Australia later in the year, as well.
Do you think digital asset-enabled cards are an important aspect of crypto adoption? Let us know in the comments below!