Crypto Card Issuers Seek Solutions in the Wake of a European Ban

Intervention by Visa spelled an end to European crypto debit cards for the majority of customers on Thursday. Around a dozen crypto companies were affected by the shutdown, which instantly wiped out their services across Europe. Issuers such as Bitwala, Tenx, Bitpay, and Xapo were left high and dry after a Visa subsidiary stopped processing payments. Two of the companies affected have since spoken to news.Bitcoin.com, revealing their plans to find an alternative solution.

Crypto Card Holders Are Locked Out

On Thursday, news.Bitcoin.com reported on a sudden crackdown on crypto cards within Europe, orchestrated by Visa subsidiary Wavecrest. The report explained how “the prepaid cards, which have become extremely popular in the crypto community, provide a means of indirectly paying for goods and services using cryptocurrency.”

Bridging the gap between fiat and crypto is one of the biggest challenges cryptocurrency platforms face. Hybrid cards, which allow a debit card to be funded with crypto and then used to make purchases in the local fiat currency, were seen as a smart solution. That all changed this week when hundreds of thousands of European crypto-holders found their cards had been rendered useless.

Tenx was one of those companies affected by the ban. The company’s co-founder, Dr. Julian Hosp, told news.Bitcoin.com that around 200,000 customers had been impacted, but signaled that a resolution is on the horizon:

Tenx was prepared for this, as the company has recently entered partnership  with a new card issuing partner and is in the process of getting the new cards live to replace the old ones as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Tenx customers will be able to withdraw their funds from their accounts as of Monday evening (January 8), while they await developments.

Dr Hosp also appeared on a live Hangout on Saturday to explain more about the current situation. The company’s co-founder seems upbeat, telling news.Bitcoin.com of plans to introduce a “live virtual currencies card” and obtain a banking licence for better fiat currency integration.

The Hunt for a New Issuer

Wirex is another crypto card firm that finds itself without a payment processing partner after Visa slammed the door. The company claims to be Wavecrest’s largest client, with over one million customers – most of whom don’t use crypto cards, it should be noted. Nevertheless, the effects of the Visa veto were still dramatic: around 600,000 Wirex plastic or virtual card holders were left without service after the ban.

Interestingly, Wirex CEO Pavel Matveev asserts that Visa are blameless in this, insisting that the blame lies solely with Wavecrest. He told news.Bitcoin.com: “Wavecrest have been violating Visa rules for months…it’s 100% Wavecrest’s fault and they knew it was coming a couple of months ago.” […]

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