Bitfinex partners with Blade Payments to provide bitcoin debit cards that can be used at any time without preloading a fiat currency. Customers of Bitfinex can automatically convert their bitcoins in cash with the help of traditional ATMs.
In a press release sent to a number of news outlets (including Silicon Angle, CoinJournal and CoinReport), bitcoin exchange Bitfinex and payment provider Blade Payments announced their partnership to provide real-time bitcoin debit cards to the customers of Bitfinex. According to the press release, card holders will be able to pay with their cards online, to use them in “brick and mortar stores” and to “withdraw cash at millions of ATMs around the world”. The press release does not specify which international ATM network will be available for their card but it promises that the use of the card would be a “frictionless” experience.
It is not the first bitcoin debit card. Many bitcoin companies have issued bitcoin debit cards, including Xapo, Bit-X and Bitstamp. However, most cards require the card holders to convert their bitcoins in fiat before making a cash withdrawal. Besides, the fees associated with bitcoin debit cards remain significant (according to CoinJournal, the Xapo card has a $20 issuance fee, a $12 annual fee and a $2.50 flat ATM fee). As the issuer claims, the new card offers “a lower cost, more convenient alternative for spending bitcoin and making currency withdrawals”. However, the charges are not specified.
Bitfinex and Blade Payments hope that the debit card will “provide the needed solution to the liquidity problem facing many Bitcoin users.” It is unclear whether litecoin users will be able to use the card as well: litecoin is also available at the Bitfinex exchange.
In a few months Bitfinex customers in Europe and Asia will be able to order the card from the Bitfinex website. The press release says nothing about customers living in other parts of the world.