As blockchain technology and the public’s awareness of cryptocurrency continues to grow, a range of new use cases a coming to market and enhancing the efficacy of legacy financial systems.
Despite its many applications, the original use case for Bitcoin (BTC) as a medium of exchange remains one of the most fundamental applications of blockchain technology and while BTC might not be the best asset to use for payments, there are service providers who have eased the process of settling transactions in other cryptocurrencies.
For now, the most widely accepted way to use cryptocurrencies for direct payments in everyday life is through the use of crypto debit cards which allow users to convert their crypto holdings into U.S. dollars. They essentially work in the same way that a prepaid debit does.
With institutions showing an increased interest in the growing cryptocurrency sector and mainstream awareness of blockchain technology at its highest level ever, crypto debits cards are increasing in prevalence as new players enter the field to try and capture a share in this growing market.
Three of the debit cards with a track record of success and attractive rewards are BitPay, Crypto.com and the Nexo Card.
The BitPay prepaid Mastercard has emerged as a top choice for many cryptocurrency holders thanks to its ease of use and low fees. It originally launched in 2016 as a US-only debit card and mainly functioned as a Bitcoin payments processor.
Have you added your BitPay Card to @Apple Pay® yet? Easily make online and in-store purchases with crypto. #apple #applepay #bitpay #bitcoin #bitpaywallet #bitpaycard #crypto pic.twitter.com/hRp7nm6vDu
— BitPay (@BitPay) February 23, 2021
Users who wish to obtain the card must first pay a $9.95 activation fee and provide their social security and driver’s license number to gain access. Once approved, the user can load cryptocurrencies onto their BitPay wallet and then convert them to dollars to make them available on the card.
There are no transaction fees for users in the U.S., and the card has a daily spending limit of $10,000 with a maximum account balance of $25,000.
For the ardent cryptocurrency fan, the Crypto.com debit card is one of the top choices due to the fact that it has a built-in native token called Crypto.com Coin (CRO) which functions as the primary currency and reward token for the blockchain.
Benefits of using the card include 100% cashback on popular streaming services like Netflix and Spotify as well as up to 8% cashback on regular purchases.
Crypto.com users can choose from a list of more than 100 of the top cryptocurrencies to fund their card by depositing them into their account and converting them into a stablecoin which is then loaded onto their debit card.
A huge milestone for the industry as crypto and fiat networks begin to converge.https://t.co/v70qC8n4Yy
— Crypto.com (@cryptocom) March 29, 2021
The Crypto.com ecosystem offers five different Visa debit cards that have a tiered reward structure that increases depending on the amount of CRO that a user has staked in their account.
Tiers range from requiring a stake of 5,000 CRO for the Ruby Steel card, all the way up to needing 5 million staked CRO to obtain the Obsidian card which offers 8% cashback on all purchases. There is also a basic version of the card that doesn’t require any staking and offers 1% cashback on all purchases.
A third choice that offers a different structure than most crypto debit cards is the Nexo Card and its native NEXO cryptocurrency which currently trades at $3.63.
Instead of requiring users to convert the cryptocurrency held into their accounts into U.S. dollars before use, Nexo issues an instantaneous loan based on the value of the cryptocurrency held in a users account and settles the transaction in fiat currency.
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— Nexo (@NexoFinance) April 22, 2021
This allows users to access the value of their cryptocurrency assets without having to sell them. The loan can be repaid using either cryptocurrency or fiat through their Nexo account with the possibility of having the minimum payment paid off by the yield earned on a users staked cryptocurrency assets.
Interest rates for charges on the card are set at 5.9%, and there are no monthly or annual exchange fees. In addition to this, users receive 2% cash back in the form of Nexo tokens or BTC.
As more banks and institutions in the U.S. and around the world take a stake in the cryptocurrency sector in order to find ways to capitalize on the growing market, crypto debit cards are likely to become a more prominent fixture in legacy payment channels.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Ray Schuetz received a Masters Degree in computer science from The University of Texas (Austin). Ray has been working as a full-time blockchain consultant for the past 3 years. In his spare time, Ray enjoys writing for EthereumCryptocurrency.com and other crypto news publications.