Institutional exchange launches crypto debit card
Intercontinental Exchange subsidiary Bakkt has introduced a debit card allowing customers to use crypto for retail purchases.
In a Tuesday announcement, Bakkt said it had launched a fully virtual Visa debit card for both online and in-store spending. Card holders can spend Bitcoin (BTC) from their Bakkt accounts without waiting to convert the cryptocurrency to fiat.
“Imagine a Bitcoin user who sees a significant gain,” said Bakkt CEO Gavin Michael. “Now, instead of selling and waiting to transfer to a bank, they can simply walk into their favorite store, tap their Bakkt Card and buy that new item they’ve been eyeing […] the Bakkt Card untethers Bitcoin owners from their online-only past into a world with countless options to leverage the digital assets in their day-to-day lives.”
Sutton Bank, a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, is issuing the debit cards in compliance with a license from Visa. Bakkt avoids BTC transaction fees by selling crypto to users at a price higher than that of the current market rate, which it said has been “no more than 1.5% throughout 2021.”
The debit card release follows Bakkt announcing in March that it had launched a digital asset payments application allowing customers to use BTC and other cryptocurrencies for purchases. At the time, the platform was advertised as a way “to amplify consumer spending, reduce payment costs, and bolster merchant loyalty programs.”
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Many exchanges and digital asset marketplaces have launched their own crypto debit cards this year as awareness of the industry grows. BitPay announced in February that it would be offering a crypto Mastercard with support for six tokens, while the Visa card issued by Crypto.com allows users to fund their accountswith more than 100 cryptocurrencies.