There has been a flurry of news that BitPay is launching a crypto debit card in the United States. Specifically, BitPay is offering a crypto MasterCard that can be used to instantly convert crypto to fiat for purchases and ATM withdrawals.
The announcement makes it seem like this is a brand new concept and a great leap for crypto adoption in the United States. While this may be really good for crypto adoption, there is a hidden backstory.
The BitPay card has actually been around since 2016, and this is documented by numerous online reviews of the card. In fact, the new BitPay card works pretty much exactly the same as the old one, the only difference being it’s now a MasterCard instead of a Visa.
Buried in the BitPay site is a page which describes how the BitPay Visa is being discontinued, and on July 31 users will not be able to load any more crypto onto it, and by December 31 users will not be able to withdraw or spend, after which point any remaining funds will be stuck.
Zooming out, it is clear that the launch of the new BitPay card is happening because Visa dropped BitPay.
Notably, here is a BitPay quote from the past in regards to why they chose Visa instead of MasterCard, and it seems quite ironic now – “at the time, we launched the BitPay card in 2016, Visa was more receptive and more interested in partnering with a leading crypto company like BitPay.”
On a final note, the BitPay MasterCard is certainly good for crypto adoption in the United States since it makes it easy to use crypto for purchases at any store. But this is nothing new since the BitPay card has existed for roughly 4 years already.