Cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase can issue its own debits cards after becoming a Visa principal member.
“This membership will enable us to offer more features for Coinbase Card customers," the cryptocurrency exchange said.
"Fom additional services to support in more markets — all elements that will help to evolve and enrich the cryptocurrency payment experience.”
Last year, Coinbase began offering a debit card that lets users spend cryptocurrency stored on their Coinbase accounts wherever Visa is accepted.
It was marketed as a big step toward making cryptocurrency more spendable in everyday situations, although the debit card is only available in the UK and certain European countries.
Prior to Coinbase’s membership with Visa, its cryptocurrency debit card had been issued by Paysafe which incurred extra fees and admin.
Coinbase UK CEO, Zeeshan Feroz, told Forbes that having to go through Paysafe carried its own limitations.
“You have a dependency on their risk appetite and the models they’d like to work with,” Feroz said.
“Direct membership allows us to take control of our issuing program.”
Coinbase looks to be a way for Visa to enter the cryptocurrency game – albeit tangentially – after the credit card issuer pulled its support for Facebook’s digital currency venture, Libra.
Swedes double down on crypto
In the same week that Coinbase made its announcement, Sweden outlined its pilot program for a centralised digital currency called the e-krona.
Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, is working with Accenture to develop the program which will begin as an isolated pilot to test user-friendliness and make sure it “complies with critical requirements for security and performance”.
Unlike bitcoin, the nodes in e-krona’s blockchain will be determined by a central issuing authority – the Riksbank – and the currency will have the same value as the usual cash currency.
The intention is for e-krona to be accessible by phone, card, or wearable devices and for users to be able to easily exchange the currency in a manner similar to cash.
Last month, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said it was exploring a digital Australian dollar, although the RBA’s project is not designed to be used by your average punter and would instead be for banks to pass between one another.
The RBA’s statistics have shown a continuous decline in the number of ATM withdrawals over the past decade.