Coinbase Card – Spend Crypto with a Visa Card
Coinbase is a regulated cryptocurrency exchange in the USA and it has just launched the “Coinbase Card“. The Coinbase Card enables its customers in the United Kingdom to spend crypto from their Coinbase account as GBP everywhere that Visa is accepted in-store and online. The Coinbase Card can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs which greatly improves the fungibility of crypto and cash which is an important step forwards for the crypto-fiat ecosystem. Coinbase instantly converts your cryptocurrency into fiat to pay for your purchase.
The first step to getting a Coinbase card is to download the Coinbase Card app to your Android or Apple phone. The app is used to configure which crypto-accounts are linked to the VISA account. There is no technical reason why you need an app for this so I suspect that this is simply to aid the migration from plastic cards to smartphone wallets (tap and pay) as is the norm in many parts of the world.
This is a great step forwards for compliant crypto. The difficulty of buying crypto with fiat (“on-ramp”) and fiat with crypto (“off-ramp”) has encouraged unregulated entrepreneurs to step into the gap (“Bitcoiners”). Coinbase and Visa are both very expensive platforms. I estimate that the true cost a transaction will be about 7%, with half the cost borne by the user and half by the merchant. Therefore there will still be a market for Bitcoiners but it will become smaller with time.