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Asia’s First Cryptocurrency Visa Debit Card Coming To Singapore

A Hong Kong based blockchain startup is preparing to roll out the region’s first cryptocurrency Visa debit card. It has applied for licenses and plans to issue 100,000 cards starting in Singapore over the next two months.

Crypto.com, previously known as Monaco before a name change in July, also plans to apply for money lending licenses in Singapore and Hong Kong before expanding its crypto debit card services to include crypto backed money lending. Company co-founder and CEO, Kris Marszalek, said;

“To holders of cryptocurrencies, having the peace of mind that you can readily convert back into fiat currencies and cash out is very important. Not all exchanges support crypto-to-fiat transactions, and even if you hold your digital assets at the exchanges’ wallet, the withdrawal process is also complicated. We believe our product addresses a real need, and enhances trust in digital assets,”

According to the SCMP holders of the firm’s crypto debit cards and users of its crypto wallet services can also take out loans backed with Bitcoin and its own native MCO token. A stored-value facility license has already been granted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the cards are issued in partnership with Wirecard Bank from Germany.

The firm has ambitions of disrupting the credit card industry claiming that banks have been unethical in issuing unsecured revolving credit to consumers who can barely afford their interest rates. Marszalek added;

“The credit card business model is one that is bordering on unethical business, as banks make a big chunk of profit from people who cannot afford late fees. These people should not be given a credit card in the first place,”

To reduce this risk, customers will only be able to borrow fiat currency up to 40-60 percent of the value of cryptocurrencies they must pledge to the company as collateral. Credit history will not be check for the crypto debit card application but KYC procedures will be carried out. The volatility risks with Bitcoin and altcoins will be taken by Crypto.com itself.

The debit card will be linked to fiat and crypto wallets supporting BTC, ETH, LTC, MCO and BNB in addition to seven fiat currencies including US, Singapore and Hong Kong dollars.

$26.7 million was raised in the firm’s ICO last year, and its tokens are currently trading on 21 exchanges according to the report. MCO is currently trading at $4.65, down 7% on the day with the rest of the markets during today’s big selloff.

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Monaco (MCO) Buys Crypto.Com Domain For Millions

Monaco and Crypto.com – The Monaco cryptocurrency-based project, focused on providing innovative financial services, has just bought out the Crypto.com domain from Matt Blaze.

Blaze, a well-known professor of computer and information technology sciences at the University of Pennsylvania bought the domain in 1993. At the time he registered the domain due to its relation to his interest in cryptography, hence his position as a director of the Tor Project. 

But as the cryptocurrency industry rapidly expanded, with users often abbreviating this new asset class to “crypto”, Blaze’s domain has received widespread interest from a variety of crypto companies.

Experts in website domain sales told The Verge that Crypto.com could be worth upwards of $10 million, bringing Blaze’s small investment (in 1993) to a value that is out of this world. 

But many companies were willing to pay ludicrous amounts of money for the domain, giving offers to the professor en-masse. However, Blaze never accepted any of the offers, potentially due to his apparent distaste towards cryptocurrency.

The professor’s personal website mentions his opinion on cryptocurrencies, stating:

Many cryptocurrencies are scams, and I strongly advise against their use as investment vehicles.

But alas, he has finally sold the domain to Monaco, with the deal being kept confidential. It is unclear why he had a change of heart, but some have speculated that he saw legitimacy and promise in the Monaco project, leaving the domain in good hands.

Kris Marszalek, the CEO of Monaco, gave some insight about the deal to TechCrunch, saying:

If it was only about money he’d (Matt Blaze) have sold it a long time ago.

Marszalek later gave a comment regarding Monaco’s role as Crypto.com domain owner, noting:

This is a very powerful identity that we are taking on. It’s representative of the entire category so it comes with a huge responsibility on us to carry the torch. We don’t take it lightly and this is one of the things that I think we conveyed successfully, that, as a company, we do have a higher purpose.

Monaco’s Expansion Plans: Crypto Debit Card

Some have begun to believe that Monaco is a great fit to “carry the torch” that is Crypto.com. The project has been putting the pedal to the metal, recently introducing the first batch of operational debit cards.

So far, these have worked, with videos appearing online showing legitimate purchases made with the cards. Although the first batch was successful, Monaco doesn’t plan on making the cards publicly available for the new few months. The MCO team reportedly has plans to roll out into the U.S. market as 2018 comes to a close.

Fans of the project have shown up in droves to pre-register for Monaco debit cards, with TechCrunch stating that there is a backlog of over 70,000 users waiting to get their hands on this innovative product.

MCO Doubles In Two Weeks

The recent expansion plans, in the form of function debit cards and the Crypto.com acquisition, have proved to be a great catalyst for the price of the Monaco cryptocurrency (MCO). In the past two weeks alone, Monaco has doubled, from the price of $4.5 to $8.9.

Today saw Monaco move up by over 10%, as news of the domain acquisition spreads. Many are hopeful for the future success of this cryptocurrency project, as it releases the public debit cards later this year, hopefully bringing cryptocurrency adoption to new levels.

Title Image Courtesy of Pixnio

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