Finding easy ways to spend cryptocurrency can be nothing short of a nightmare — and even when you discover a platform where your digital assets can be used for purchasing everyday goods and services, you’re normally faced with delays and high transaction fees.
A Sydney-based startup is seeking to change the status quo by offering a crypto debit card which enables the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum to be used at any business or ATM across Australia. Unlike other preloaded cards, BTC.com.au says its card is free to acquire, and consumers don’t have to pay any fees when they top it up.
Crypto that’s loaded on to the card is also available for immediately use — preventing those agonizing waits until funds clear. Although a $4.99 fee is charged monthly for maintenance, this is refunded to customers who load $500 or more over the course of a month — incentivizing regular usage. Likewise, frequent users of the Bitcoin card can avoid a $4 inactivity fee as long as they top up the cards every few months.
Danny Ariti, CEO of BTC.com.au, says his team has been motivated to create a platform that gives Australian consumers who may not have encountered crypto before an easy way to include it in their everyday lives. He added that adoption of the Bitcoin card has been greater than expected — attracting casual crypto users and professionals ranging in age from 18 to 80.
A simple activation process takes place when a user receives their card, and according to BTC.com.au, new applicants can usually expect to get their plastic the day after they have ordered it online. At present, the maximum balance that can be stored on these cards is $999, and purchases can only be made within Australia.
Prices for Bitcoin and Ethereum reached dizzying highs toward the end of 2017, but Ariti believes that the price drop has enabled consumers “to enter the market at a price point that they feel comfortable with.”
Understanding that first-time crypto users may find it difficult to buy digital assets online, BTC.com.au offers their users an easy and intuitive way to buy cryptocurrency. A partnership with the Blueshyft network enables users to complete crypto purchases using cash at more than 1,200 retail outlets across Australia. Alternatively, POLi transfers enable purchases to be completed using normal online banking services.
The startup says it is also opening new doors to people who want to pay utility bills or give money to loved ones using crypto. The BTC.com.au website enables users to settle accounts with operators who accept BPAY as a payment method or transfer funds to friends and family who have bank accounts in Australia.
A new era
As well as being compatible with ATMs across the nation, BTC.com.au’s card can also be used at EFTPOS terminals — and according to the Australian Payments Network, more than 960,000 can currently be found nationwide. When coupled with the 30,219 ATMs in operation as of September 2018, this means that consumers have plenty of choices with where, how and when they use their Bitcoin cards. It is hoped that other cryptocurrencies will be supported by the product in the not-too-distant future.
BTC.com.au’s brokerage service is geared toward people who are looking to make their first crypto purchase without being overwhelmed by confusing and difficult-to-navigate trading platforms, where charts and complicated language all too often dissuade people from getting involved altogether.
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