Bitcoin Currency May be Coming to Your Wallet
The first bitcoin debit card has been introduced in the United States.
Last Friday, Coinbase rolled out The Shift Card, a Visa debit card that allows Coinbase users to spend bitcoin offline in 24 states.
Up to this point, bitcoin–which is person-to-person currency that is not linked to a credit card company, bank or financial institution–has not really been used to buy or sell items. In fact, as reported in Wired, bitcoin is used as currency in only 20% of its transactions. The other 80% are speculation. One reason for this is that it hasn’t been possible to use bitcoins at brick-and-mortar stores in the United States.
The Shift Card changes that paradigm because it can be used anywhere Visa is accepted–once it gains State regulatory approval.
Coinbase customers in eligible states can receive their Shift Card by requesting a card and paying a $10 issuance fee. Currently, Coinbase says there will be no other fees on domestic merchant transactions, but in the future, they may start charging Shift a fee. At that time, Shift may, in turn, pass on this fee to the users.
Shift is using the Coinbase Connect system to allow the 2.8 million Coinbase customers to make secure transactions.