One of the biggest hurdles for widespread crypto adoption is that it is hard to pay with crypto at retail stores. First off, obtaining Bitcoin (BTC) can be a time consuming process and is not always straightforward, especially for people with no bank account. Also, sending a crypto payment from a wallet to a merchant is not so seamless either, and oftentimes merchants don’t even accept crypto. In fact, these issues are the biggest reason why Bitcoin (BTC) has not become a full fledged global currency.

A couple of startup companies are working on resolving at least some of these adoption issues however. Both Zap and Strike are in the Visa fast track program to launch lightning-based crypto debit cards. 

The idea behind these crypto debit cards is that a customer can load their wallet with Bitcoin (BTC), and then send lightning payments instantly via a debit card. Essentially, when a user pays for goods at a store, they will simply use their debit card and the transaction will be seamless, and in the background a lightning payment will be simultaneously sent. 

This is an advancement over using regular Bitcoin payments, since Bitcoin transactions can take 10 minutes or even longer to confirm, which is impractical for physical retail transactions. On the other hand, Bitcoin Lightning payments can be sent instantly. In this case, the Bitcoin Lightning payment is sent to the card company, such as Zap or Strike, and instantly the USD is sent to the merchant.

It remains to be seen if these projects will be successful, since many companies have promised similar crypto debit cards in the past. Also, this doesn’t solve the problem of obtaining Bitcoin in the first place, which is especially difficult for people with no bank account. 

That being said, these lightning enabled crypto debit cards from Zap and Strike are definitely a good idea, and a step in the right direction for crypto adoption.