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Australia: 100% Crypto-Invested Retirement Portfolios Are Illegal

The Australian Tax Office is sending warning letters to retirees investing more than 90% of funds in crypto.

The Australian Tax Office has issued warning letters to 18,000 Self Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) for concentrating too much investment in one asset class. Under Australian law it is illegal to use more than 90% of retirement funds on a single class, such as property or cryptocurrency, as reported by local news outlet, Micky, Aug. 16.

Legally obliged to diversify your retirement portfolio

An SMSF involves an individual taking charge of their own retirement fund investment decisions, rather than relying on a professional fund manager. It is a major growth area for cryptocurrency businesses in the country, with a combined value of around AUS$7 billion.

But the tax office letters are reminding retirees that they have a “duty to comply with legal requirements to adopt investment strategies avoiding risky investments.”

Failure to do so could see them face a fine of up to AUS$4,200.

Not that a cryptocurrency investment is inherently risky

The majority of those breaching the regulations are invested in property, but an increasing number are turning to cryptocurrency. Which is perfectly okay, as long as the 90% rule is adhered to.

Australia actually has some of the most favorable laws around investing retirement funds into cryptocurrency. This is one of the reasons that Indian exchange, Zebpay, recently opened an office in the country. Zebpay CEO, Ajeet Khurana said:

“Australia happens to be the only developed country where retirement money, superannuation money, can very easily be invested into cryptocurrencies.”

But the message on investment diversification doesn’t always get through. The Bitcoin Australia website incorrectly states that, “You can decide how much you would like to invest in crypto. This can be as little [as] 1% or as much as 100% of your super — it’s completely up to you.”

A strongly-worded letter from the tax office should clarify matters for all.

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Power Ledger and KEPCO Complete Blockchain Energy Trade Trial in Japan

Australian energy technology company Power Ledger and Kansai Electric Power Co. have completed a joint trial of a blockchain-based system for post-FIT surplus power in Osaka.

Australian energy technology company Power Ledger and Japanese Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) have completed a joint trial of a blockchain-based system for post-FIT (feed-in tariff) surplus power in Osaka.

P2P transaction of surplus power

In an announcement published on Aug. 12, Power Ledger revealed the test completion of a peer-to-peer system demonstrating benefits for post-FIT surplus power in the Japanese city of Osaka.

The system purportedly enabled KEPCO to conduct a p2p transaction of surplus power autonomously and automatically, which included settlements with digital currency. Fumiaki Ishida, KEPCO representative general manager, commented on the development:

“Although there are still many challenges like amendments of relevant laws for commercialization, Power Ledger’s product presents significant opportunities for prosumers to sell their excessive energy at more advantageous prices and for consumers to buy it at more affordable prices.”

Increasing blockchain adoption by energy sector

In July, Marubeni Corp., a major Japanese general trading company, revealed that it had begun backing a blockchain-based power trading platform. The platform reportedly aimed to unlock tens of billions of dollars in power generation to smaller projects in the Australian electricity market, which is running out of major power consumers that will buy large quantities over long periods of time.

The same month, energy network company E.ON filed a patent application for a blockchain-based data collector with the European Patent Office, which would allow consumers to purchase energy services within a distributed system, in particular, could make for an energy system that is more transparent, efficient and flexible for the consumer.

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VeChain Releases Blockchain-Encrypted Wine Bottles For Australian Winemaker

Australian winemaker Penfolds has partnered with VeChain to make a case of special wine bottles with blockchain authentication.

Public enterprise blockchain platform VeChain has partnered with Autralian winemaker Penfolds to release a case of blockchain-encrypted wine bottles for sale, as part of its Wine Traceability Platform (WTP) initiative.

More specifically, the launch of Penfolds Bin 407 in July marks the beginning of VeChain’s WTP phase 2, per a press release from VeChain on Aug. 6. The bottles from this case are reportedly available at the Waigaoqiao International Alcohol Exhibition & Trading Center, D.I.G.’s  Flagship Store and the Sen Lan Shang Du in Pudong New District.

As per the press release, each bottle inside Bin 407 comes attached with an encrypted N.F.C. chip. This chip reportedly contains the bottle’s product information on a blockchain, which can be accessed with a chip reader. These details reportedly include the bottle’s provenance information, which is verified by third-party auditors.

Blockchain for wine 

A number of companies are beginning to issue blockchain verification systems for wine. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the big four audit firm Ernst & Young announced that it’s Ethereum-based blockchain solution will be used to verify the authenticity of imported European wines in Asia. This solution would reportedly be implemented on the e-commerce platform Tattoo, for use by Blockchain Wine Pte. Ltd.

Near the end of July, the Chinese alcohol wholesaler and marketer also announced that it would be using a blockchain solution to verify its products. This solution purportedly makes use of proprietary anti-counterfeiting laser recognition for certification and blockchain technology for tracking. 

On a slightly different note, retail giant Overstock announced its move into blockchain-based wine futures back in Oct. 2018. Overstock reportedly also intended to fight wine fraud, but in this case by means of developing a digital trading platform for wine futures. This would reportedly result in a secure supply chain that verifies wine industry products, they said. 

Overstock founder and CEO Patrick M. Byrne commented on the company’s idea, saying:

“Like any economy, the wine industry has difficulty scaling its middlemen-heavy systems in parallel with the growing demands of an increasing global market. VinX’s steps in tokenizing wine futures while allowing wine enthusiasts to know without a doubt that the bottles they purchase are filled with authentic wines will position the entire industry as a model of a new global economy that replaces old boys’ networks with frictionless trust through technology.”

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Blockchain Startup Nets $2.4 Million in Public Funding to Fight Food Slavery

A new blockchain solution focused on ending slave labor in the food industry received $2.4 million in public funding in Australia.

Blockchain startup Lumachain has received $2.4 million in public funding from Main Sequence Ventures, a $165.6 million venture capital fund backed by the Australian government and the federal Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. 

Lumachain’s newly-received funds will go toward staffing fees as well as international expansion, according to a report by local financial news periodical the Australian Financial Review (AFR) on July 29. Lumachain reportedly uses blockchain technology to track and trace the condition and whereabouts of food products along the supply chain in real time. 

According to Lumachain’s website, founder Jamila Gordon says the goal of her blockchain solution is to end modern slavery associated with food production. Gordon told the AFR:

“Slavery is becoming a major issue in supply chains, both here and overseas. Australia passed the Modern Slavery Act in 2018, and this is part of a global trend, where both enterprises and consumers want certainty that products have been ethically and sustainably sourced.”

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors reportedly identified the food sector as the third-most-likely industry to partake in modern slavery. Moreover, according to Gordon, the fresh food industry is largely un-digitized and is comparatively quite wasteful and inefficient.

Jamila Gordon and Lumachain

Jamila Gordon was reportedly forced into labor from the age of five in Somalia. Later, she moved to Australia and began a career with IBM. Gordon has also worked for the major airline Qantas as its top senior technology executive. Gordon reportedly has experience with implementing supply chains globally in Qantas and CIMIC with the current chief product officer of Lumachain, Tony White.

Lumachain also reportedly received support from the major tech company Microsoft, through its “start-up scale-up” initiative.

Blockchain and labor

Different companies and governmental organizations have begun using blockchain technology to fight unethical labor practices, including slavery, globally. 

In April 2019, Princess Eugenie of the United Kingdom and United States anti-human trafficking Ambassador John Richmond came out in favor of using new technology like phone apps and blockchain to address human trafficking. Eugenie then said:

“I have learned about how blockchain is having a huge impact on supply chain management, and how an app in Britain can help the public report modern slavery at car washes.”

In March 2018, Coca-Cola, the United States State Department and three other firms launched a project to create a blockchain-based labor registry. The organizations hope the platform can address the problem of nearly 25 million people work under forced labor conditions globally.

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Biggest University in Western Australia Accepts Bitcoin for PhD Program

An Australian University has opened a one-of-its-kind cryptocurrency program that will be funded with bitcoin and ethereum donations.

Curtin University, the largest university in Western Australia with over 58,00 students, announced the launch of a cryptocurrency PhD program on July 23, 2019. 

Curtin University Accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum

The Cryptocurrency PhD Scholarship Fund will allow companies and individuals to help PhD students studying  blockchain, cybersecurity and data analytics through cryptocurrency funding. 

Focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, the higher education program will be entirely funded through bitcoin or ethereum, which school officials say will help popularize cryptocurrencies as a payment method. 

Curtin University Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Excellence Professor Garry Allison notes the fund is a good opportunity for cryptocurrency investors to foster a new generation of PhD graduates who will help develop this new technology.

“By establishing the Cryptocurrency PhD Scholarship Fund, Curtin will provide the opportunity for entrepreneurs who have realised significant benefits from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum to give something back to these communities,” said Professor Allison.

The new fund means that wealthy crypto investors can help facilitate the adoption of Bitcoin and blockchain technology by helping fund the education of interested students. Moreover, the most generous donors can even choose the field of speciality they are willing to sponsor. 

Universities around the world are catching on

In the last few months, other educational institutions like Dublin City University and University of British Columbia have launched blockchain technology programs. While Dublin City University partnered with tech company network Ireland ICT Skillnet to offer master’s degree, University of British Columbia announced a graduate training in blockchain tech. 

In 2013, the University of Nicosia in Cyprus became the first university in the world allowing its students to pay in bitcoin. 

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Full House: Crypto Cards Show a Strong Hand in 2019

As investor confidence in crypto grows, some of crypto’s biggest name launch cards.

Until recently, cryptocurrency debit cards appeared to fall short of expectations. Despite many failed efforts in recent years, crypto debit cards are enjoying a second wind thanks to a surge in crypto prices over the summer. With some of the crypto world’s biggest names launching crypto debit cards, Cointelegraph takes a look at the latest updates in the burgeoning payments sector. 

What are cryptocurrency debit cards and how do they work? 

Cryptocurrency debit cards are almost exactly the same as the bank card you carry around every day in your wallet, except for the fact that you can use them to deposit and convert cryptocurrencies. Crypto debit cards represent the transitional stage that cryptocurrencies are currently evolving through. Merchants — for the most part — aren’t ready to accept payments for everyday items and services in crypto, along with the fact that many cryptocurrencies still face issues with transaction time. Consequently, many exchanges only offer the possibility to trade cryptocurrencies for other existing cryptocurrencies, presenting an issue for investors looking to convert their tokens to fiat. 

In this respect, crypto debit cards present a happy middle ground for both investors and merchants alike. Payments with a crypto card does not require the merchant to have any technology to accept cryptocurrency payments, as they use the existing Visa/Mastercard infrastructure widely used by businesses the world over. Crypto cards either convert currency seamlessly for the payment or give the user the opportunity to transfer it into a dedicated fiat account for payments. 

New Litecoin Foundation partnership rolls out new card

The Litecoin Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing and promoting blockchain technology, announced that it has teamed up with Bibox Exchange and the blockchain firm Ternio to roll out its own crypto debit card. 

The new card, dubbed “BlockCard,” will be released as a joint venture by the companies and, for the meantime, is restricted to U.S. customers only. According to a post published by the Litecoin Foundation, BlockCard will enable customers to spend cryptocurrency both online and in-store worldwide. It might not come as a surprise that the most prominent cryptocurrency available to service users is Litecoin (LTC). Customers will also be able to use Bibox Exchange’s and Ternio’s native tokens, Bibox Token (BIX) and Ternio (TERN) respectively. 

While Bibox Exchange is set to act as the custodian of users’ funds and to leverage north of $200 million worth of cryptocurrency trading volume, Ternio aims to  provide a dedicated blockchain platform. 

Litecoin creator and managing director of the Litecoin Foundation, Charlie Lee, said the card launch represents an opportunity to get more people spending Litecoin: 

“This is an exciting partnership for us as it furthers the Litecoin Foundation’s mission to create more use cases for spending Litecoin in everyday life. Leveraging Ternio’s BlockCard platform with Bibox’s exchange engine gives Litecoin holders unparalleled access to use their LTC at merchants around the world.”

Although a cursory glance back at recent efforts to launch crypto debit cards may prove a sobering experience for most entrepreneurs, Ternio founder and CEO Daniel Gouldman told Cointelegraph via email that the payments industry is there for the taking: 

“The payments industry is currently $4 trillion a year on its way to being $5.5 trillion. Commerce literally is about exchanging value. More and more people are figuring out that cryptocurrencies hold some tremendous advantages over traditional systems which are archaic.  When you have JP Morgan, Facebook, Mitsubishi bank, Samsung and other multinationals all employing a cryptocurrency of some kind — it’s clear that not only tech savvy bitcoin enthusiast/anarchists see the value. Cryptocurrencies are going to revolutionize payments.”  

Since Bitcoin’s resurgence in the summer of 2019, many top cryptocurrencies are riding the back of a bullish market. Consequently, the launch of several new crypto card initiatives isn’t really that surprising. Despite an increasingly crowded market, Gouldman thinks that BlockCard has what it takes to outshine its competitors: 

“Unlike other crypto cards — they force you into fiat at the moment of your deposit which means you’re carrying around a glorified prepaid card that you could buy at Walgreens or Wal-Mart. They charge you for the deposit directly — undercut the value of your asset (by a lot) and then you’re stuck in cash with no easy way to get back into crypto. We allow the users to stay in crypto so they can easily withdrawal whenever they want and the process is seamless.”

Historically, the crypto community has complained about high fees and regulation issues in connection to previous efforts to launch crypto debit cards. Gouldman said that the Ternio team shares the community’s disappointment and has developed BlockCard with the goal of giving customers the best deal possible: 

“There was this thought process that the banks were ripping people off and it really soured people on large institutional players. But we traded this lack of trust in banks and other fintech companies for crypto companies that are gouging people. It’s really disgusting. If a company isn’t giving you a square deal — it’s because their values are very different than certainly ours but also — I suspect most consumers. We’re not perfect but our thesis is about lowering costs and making it more convenient. […] And creating competition is good because it’s good for markets and good for consumers. We’re pro-consumer. That’s who we are and that’s who we’re always going to be.” 

In the crypto world, competition is tough, with a lot of companies vying for the top spot in a niche sector. However, Gouldman said that the spate of card launches is a sign that things are changing for the better: 

“There are a lot of great card companies out there and I’m excited for the entire industry. We won’t and shouldn’t live in a world filled with only one option; more options means consumer choice and forces innovation. The industry hasn’t seen crypto really break out for payments but it’s really about to. Write that down. Buy the t-shirt. It’s about to get real.”

Coinbase Card rolled out in six European countries

On June 11, Coinbase launched its Visa debit card in six European countries. Customers in Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands will be able to sync the cards to their Coinbase accounts to spend their cryptocurrencies at any merchant that accepts Visa cards. This latest offering from Coinbase comes in two formats: a mobile app for iOS or Android, and a physical card that can be used to make fiat withdrawals from ATMs. News of a European launch followed the April announcement of Coinbase Card, a service previously limited to United Kingdom customers. 

Powered by customers’ Coinbase account crypto balances, Coinbase Card allows transactions worldwide in multiple cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. According to the press release, cryptocurrencies stored in users’ account are instantly converted to fiat currency at the moment of purchase. The card will also be supported by an app that enables service users to select which crypto wallets are used when spending. The app also provides receipts and transaction summaries. 

Coinbase’s European offering will also allow customers to choose which cryptocurrency to make payments with, which Coinbase converts to cash for a fee. 

At the time, news of the UK crypto debit card launch received a mixed response from online members of the crypto community. While some advocate that this is a necessary step towards greater adoption, others noted that the restriction to U.K.-based customers and reports of transaction fees could prevent the product from taking off. 

Coinbase Card is issued, authorized and regulated by the electronic money institution Paysafe Financial Services Limited. 

Coinbase cancels Shift Bitcoin debit card 

Coinbase’s previous efforts to maintain a crypto debit card service have not always been so successful. Coinbase’s Shift Bitcoin debit card reportedly ceased operations on April 11, according to an email allegedly from the Shift team that was posted on Reddit on Feb. 18. The shutdown of Shift was the latest blow to the crypto debit card sector, following a number of high-profile companies also throwing in the towel. 

Launched in November 2015, Shift was part of what initially seemed a promising new innovation: cards that allowed users to spend Bitcoin (BTC) via the existing Visa debit infrastructure. Although there are numerous companies in different countries still offering them, their much-touted global appeal has waned. 

According to the screenshot uploaded to Reddit, the Shift BTC card service terminated on April 11, 2019. The company did not give an official response stating the reason for the shutdown of the product. The company did assure current service users that the product will function as usual up until the advertised cut-off date. 

Comments on social media indicated that a lack of demand was the reason behind Coinbase’s decision to withdraw the Shift BTC card. 

Where did it all initially go wrong for BTC cards? 

While the summer of 2019 is proving to be a popular time for card launches, the market was not always so buoyant. One of the most prominent setbacks for the sector occurred in January, when Visa ended its relationship with debit card provider WaveCrest. At the time, the decision from the payment titan set the cat among the pigeons in the crypto community. The company later revealed that the relationship had been terminated due to WaveCrest violating Visa’s policies:  

“We can confirm that WaveCrest’s Visa membership is being terminated due to continued non-compliance with our operating rules. All of WaveCrest’s Visa card programmes will be closed as a result.

“Visa has other approved card programmes that use fiat funds converted from cryptocurrency in a number of jurisdictions. The termination of WaveCrest’s Visa membership does not affect these other products.”

This is not the only time that payments giants have created uncertainty for crypto debit card providers. Back in October 2018, Finance Magnates reported that both Mastercard and Visa would classify cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings (ICOs) as “high risk.” Quoting undisclosed sources, the publication reported that a ban would be applied to brokers operating from “unregulated or loosely regulated environments.” Unfortunately this description would spell disaster for many crypto debit cards, as there is no universal policy for regulating crypto payments. Consequently, many debit card companies offering crypto services would appear as not having applied the necessary due diligence to their business. 

Ex-Visa exec launches own card

Although Mastercard and Visa have a lukewarm approach to cryptocurrencies, the same cannot be said for ex-Visa exec Steven Parker, who now heads Crypterium, a crypto payment firm that announced it has shipped around 4,000 crypto debit cards since its launch.

The company, based in Estonia, launched the Crypterium Card on June 12, offering users a prepaid card compatible with several major cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and USD Coin, along with Crypterium’s own CRPT token. 

Having delivered 3,736 cards to roughly 70 countries in the week following the product’s launch, Crypterium said it was experiencing “booming demand” on the back of the BTC price surge and fledgling bull market. Crypterium co-founder and chief operating officer, Austin Kimm, spoke to Cointelegraph through email about how crypto debit card providers had had a tough time in the past: 

“Timing is everything. Being the first is not always the best idea as the world needs to be ready to accept a shift in thinking. Many people couldn’t see the benefit of the internet when it first launched. Until now, crypto debit cards have had to fight on multiple fronts.” 

Kimm named a number of factors that had previously held back the growth of crypto debit cards, including price volatility and institutional investment domination: 

“A dramatically falling crypto market (by value) limited owner desire to spend what is probably a lot less in value than it was when they first bought or received it. Lack of trust by a wider community limiting the spread of currency. The vast bulk of Crypto owners bought their crypto as an investment, very few earned it as income (miners apart) compounding the lack of incentive to spend crypto.”

Although many still consider Visa and Mastercard to be the gold standard in terms of global customer reach, Kimm said that this belief is misplaced: 

“Many companies might say they are able to issue their cards worldwide, but it is simply not true. Visa and Mastercard have a regional strategy limiting the reach of card crypto card issuers. The history of TenX is interesting in that they had a regional issuing capability for Singapore, but shipped cards worldwide. This led to Visa blocking their services completely and in the process destroying the value of their card issuing partner wave crest holdings. This regional strategy means that all cards are being issued in the same places, USA, UK, Singapore. But where is cryptocurrency having the greatest impact? Latin America, Asia and many developing markets. The use case in developing markets is significantly greater than that in developed markets.” 

Kimm said that its strong customer base in the Asia-Pacific region influenced his decision to partner with Union Pay International: 

“They are huge in the developing markets, and they have no regional issuance restrictions. That means that with one single partnership, Crypterium can issue cards to any citizen in any country in the world (we still require usual KYC information) reaching those users that need us most and whom everybody else has ignored. Users that will want to use the card for everyday transactions.”

Wirex 

After the initial fiasco involving Visa cancelling its working relationship with WaveCrest in January, many companies found themselves in the awkward position of attempting to offer crypto debit card services without actually having a card provider themselves. One company, Wirex, found itself this predicament, however, due to the fact that the company had begun to seek out relationships with other card providers prior to WaveCrest’s collapse, Wirex soon landed on its feet. Having ridden out the whole debacle, Wirex co-founder Dmitry Lazarichev spoke to Cointelegraph about the intricacies involved in launching a crypto debit card: 

“There are several challenges when trying to launch a crypto supported card in every country. First and foremost, although over-simplifying its classification, the entity issuing the card and accounts should be licensed by the appropriate local regulator as an e-money/money transmitter institution or the local regulatory equivalent. 

“Second, a ‘BIN sponsor’ is required — that is a company which holds principal membership with a card payment network – Visa and Mastercard being the best-known and having widest coverage. In January 2018, WaveCrest ceased operating under Visa’s network, which essentially stopped all companies overnight who relied on WaveCrest’s card services. Wirex was one of very few companies, if not the only one, to find another card issuer and BIN sponsor, in Contis Financial Services.” 

Lazarichev added that gaining approval as an authorized agent of Contis, along with successfully passing a number or due diligence tests, gave their reputation a boost after the initial knockback with WaveCrest:  

“We had been approved as an authorised agent of Contis, an FCA e-money license holder, which helped in terms of credibility to secure the card issuance. This required thorough checks of our policies for KYC [Know Your Customer] and AML [Anti-Money Laundering] purposes, specifically processes and controls. We successfully passed the audit for PCI- DSS which we were awarded later during the year (we are level 1 certified — the highest in the industry). We are not ICO funded. Traditional institutions are historically wary of working with ICO funded companies.”

Australia’s bullish environment proves stable for crypto cards 

Despite the struggles facing many crypto debit card companies in Europe and beyond, BTC.com.au launched its own Bitcoin card. Australia, famous for its bullish approach to crypto, has proven to be a healthy environment for this latest crypto venture. BTC.com.au CEO Danny Ariti spoke to Cointelegraph, stating that BTC.com.au has seen an increase in customer demand for the product since its official launch last year: 

“We’ve personally seen a massive uptake and interest in our cards since officially launching the program. We believe this to be the result of making the card an easy and intuitive product with a focus on removing many of the pain points associated with other cash out options. Cards can be loaded with multiple coins with support for additional coins constantly being added, funds are instantly loaded onto the card when a transaction is made – there is no waiting for clearing times that you’d see with regular cash out options, all made more appealing to users with cards operating outside of the traditional banking system.”

The BTC.com.au CEO emphasised that a lack of crypto understanding is partly to blame for the lack of more widespread adoption along with the current requirement to rely on third party companies and investors: 

“One of the main challenges is institutional and mainstream company pressures and restrictions. This is mainly due to a lack of understanding of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. We don’t believe this to be limited to only a lack of understanding, but also a fear of the exceptional concept that is cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. As we rely on third party companies and institutions in order to develop these card products, their restrictions in the understanding of cryptocurrency is prevalent. An example of this, specifically within Australia, is the $999 limit attached to our card program. This is a result of insurance companies evaluating businesses operating in this space as ‘high-risk’ making it difficult for cryptocurrency-related businesses to obtain the necessary insurances to meet the regulatory requirements to have these limits raised. With widespread use of the cards, we’re hoping that this high-risk view will decrease.” 

Ariti also touched on the damage dealt to the sector by Mastercard and Visa’s policies towards cryptocurrency businesses, but remained cautiously optimistic about renewed interest from card issuers: 

“The industry has seen some curve balls thrown at it with many of the earlier card programs operating on the Mastercard and VISA networks having their programs pulled as result of cryptocurrency-related businesses being heavily scrutinised and being placed in a high-risk industry category. While in Australia we presently only have the ability to operate over the domestic eftpos card network, we’re now seeing renewed interest from card issuers potentially approving new cryptocurrency card programs back onto these global payment networks.” 

Overall, Ariti maintains a positive outlook for the future adoption of BTC debit cards, commenting that the potential benefits and ease-of-use, together with the eventual merchant acceptance of cryptocurrency, will win out in the end: 

“We are optimistic about the future of cryptocurrency cards; they allow users to easily integrate cryptocurrency into their everyday lives with little learning curve by taking a new technology and coupling it with a familiar system and user experience, essentially bridging the gap between the ‘old’ and ‘new’. This of course is all part of a much larger movement until more merchants begin natively accepting cryptocurrency, but this small stepping stone will eventually translate into a much larger revolutionary leap as adoption continues.”

Despite 2018’s prolonged bear market, it’s clear from the recent spate of launches and service expansions from existing providers that entrepreneurs in the crypto industry see opportunities to exploit a potentially fertile market. Much like any business environment, the crypto world has witnessed its fair share of egos and cut-throat competition. For now, there appears to be a certain sense of shared optimism and community spirit regarding the potential for crypto debit cards to facilitate wider adoption of digital currencies. Although more companies are throwing their hats into the ring, there are still plenty of options for card providers to attract customers, with competitive fees, increasingly diverse coin portfolios and user experience all being low-hanging fruit for potential clients. However, as both 2019’s so-called bull run enters a bout of serious volatility and Facebook’s Libra project faces mounting regulatory difficulties, it remains to be seen how institutions, customers and centralized card providers across the crypto sector will react.