Why it matters: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin have reached a level of popularity that few predicted they'd ever get to but if the dream of a truly decentralized currency is to be realized, there's still much work to be done. Making them just as easy to spend as traditional fiat currencies is one hurdle that will certainly have to be overcome on the road to mainstream acceptance.
Coinbase is making it seamlessly easy for customers to spend crypto with the launch of a debit card linked directly to their Coinbase account crypto balances.
The Coinbase Card, issued by Paysafe Financial Services Limited, is a Visa debit card that works just like a debit card from your bank. When customers use the card, Coinbase instantly converts crypto to fiat and uses the funds to complete the purchase.
Coinbase Card supports all crypto assets available to buy and sell on the Coinbase platform including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Using the Coinbase Card app, you can select which crypto wallets to use to fund spending on the card.
Coinbase charges £4.95 (roughly $6.50) to order a card although the company is waiving this fee for the first 1,000 customers. You can withdraw up to £200 per month at ATMs for free; anything above that will incur a fee of one percent domestically and two percent internationally. Other potential fees, including transaction fees and crypto liquidation fees, are detailed in Coinbase's FAQ.
The San Francisco-based digital currency exchange said the card is currently only available in the UK but will be heading to other European countries in the coming months. No word yet on expansion plans outside of Europe.