Underground bitcoin vaults maker, Xapo, introduced the first bitcoin debit card on Thursday as part of its initiative to bring the virtual currency to more consumers.
Works like a traditional debit or credit card
Wences Casares, founder and CEO of Xapo said the Xapo Debit Card works like a traditional debit card and it will allow users to spend their bitcoins at any online or offline retailers accepting debit or credit cards. According to him, merchants will receive funds in their local currency.
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At present, Xapo is offering a vault for people to safely store their bitcoin and a wallet, which allows users to make purchases or transfer money. The Xapo debit card is automatically linked to a user’s Xapo wallet.
In a blog post, Casares wrote, “The mission of Xapo is to provide a system that is both convenient and secure. We offer our fully-insured Vault with the security needed for confident bitcoin savings combined with our easy-access Wallet. The Xapo debit card provides users a new, simpler way to access bitcoins and use them for everyday transactions.”
According to him, the Xapo Debit Card is a major improvement to the cards currently available in the market, which are prepaid cards that require customers to convert their bitcoins manually to local currency before making any purchase.
Casares added that his company continues to believe that bitcoin will become a global payment network, and it is the responsibility of companies like Xapo to create tools and infrastructure to offer the experience and true benefits of bitcoin.
Xapo to partner with Visa Inc (NYSE:V) and MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA)
Xapo is partnering with MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA) and Visa Inc (NYSE:V) to use the payment networks of both companies, and plans to release its debits card within two months.
“We are partnering with banks in the U.S. and Europe that use both MasterCard and Visa networks. We anticipate it’s very likely that the banks will in many cases be using the MasterCard network. But this will be made final at the time of issue,” according to a statement from a spokesperson for Xapo as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.