In today’s Money Morning…cards, crypto, and convenience…real innovation requires patience…a future that may be closer than you think…and more…
When it comes to Bitcoin [BTC], the long-running debate has been whether or not it is a genuine currency.
Critics and enthusiasts alike have argued at great lengths as to whether cryptocurrencies are, or could ever be, actual currency. After all, the key challenge is the ever-volatile ‘price’ of bitcoin and its fellow cryptocurrencies.
A challenge that has led to the innovation of new solutions, like stablecoins.
But even stablecoins have their own issues.
As we enter a period of relative stability for bitcoin, we are starting to see some change. With the adoption of cryptocurrencies for transactions on the rise, though still certainly niche.
That, however, may all be about to change in Australia.
Because as was widely reported yesterday, Visa is set to release a new crypto debit card. A payment solution that will allow people with cryptocurrency holdings to spend them with any Visa-approved merchant…
Cards, crypto, and convenience
Visa and a new local start-up — known as CryptoSpend — are set to issue the first crypto payment card.
Which, as reported by the Australian Financial Review, is the first of its kind in Australia. Opening up the possibility for users to utilise their cryptocurrency holdings for everyday purchases:
‘It will be the first time cryptocurrencies can be spent using a payments card issued in Australia that runs on the network of one of the international card schemes, and highlights global moves by Visa and Mastercard to make it easier to spend bitcoin and other digital currencies to pay for everyday items.’
This is a very interesting development to say the least. One that isn’t just occurring in Australia, either.
Right around the world, both Visa and Mastercard are racing to get their foot in the door of the crypto boom. Vying to become preferred payment providers for this new, digital money.
Even if it means grappling with the volatile price swings…
And while this may seem like the outcome that crypto enthusiasts wanted, it is far from it for many.
The whole point of bitcoin and many cryptocurrencies is to remove the need for companies like Visa and Mastercard. Middlemen operators that make billions from transactional fees and charges.
So, in some ways, this crypto debit card is the antithesis of what bitcoin stands for.
But that doesn’t mean it can be ignored either.
Because like it or not, what this crypto card will provide is a means for accessibility. Making crypto purchases not only more feasible, but also far simpler. Utilising a transactional experience that almost all of us are used to by now: simply swiping or tapping a piece of plastic on a small terminal.
Which, in my personal view, is one of the biggest things holding bitcoin back at the moment.
Like any new technology, it is the user experience aspect that is vital for adoption. And Visa, with the help of CryptoSpend, is set to make that a reality.
Real innovation requires patience
At the end of the day, this whole Visa and Mastercard crypto story is a sideshow.
Mainstream pundits may hail it is as the solution that crypto needs, but it is the complete opposite.
The only reason these card issuers are so desperate to get in on the action is because they can see the writing on the wall. Crypto isn’t just some new market for them to tap into — it is their replacement. Much in the same way that credit and debit cards replaced cheques.
They are trying to secure their companies’ future by embedding themselves into crypto’s future.
And that may very well work for a time. But I have my doubts that it will work forever.
Because as you hopefully realise by now, crypto, and more specifically the blockchain, are set to deliver the biggest financial disruption we’ve seen in a long time. Drastically changing the way we think about transactions, and our outdated reliance on third parties to make them happen.
So don’t be fooled into thinking that the crypto boom is over just because the price in dollars has levelled out. The real boom will come when you can start to pay for your morning cup of coffee with a cryptocurrency. And, more importantly, without the ‘help’ of Visa or Mastercard.
A future that may be closer than you think.
Something that you can learn all about from our expert advisory service: New Money Investor. A source of the most up-to-date and relevant information on what to expect from the future of finance.
After all, the debate as to whether crypto will ever be used as a currency is over now. These crypto cards are proof of that.
Now, the only question that matters is how it will evolve.
Editor, Money Morning
PS: Ryan is also the Editor of Australian Small-Cap Investigator, a stock tipping newsletter that hunts down promising small-cap stocks. For information on how to subscribe and see what Ryan’s telling subscribers right now, click here.