Cryptocurrencies just got a lot more practical.
The past six months have seen an unbelievable bitcoin boom. Since May 2017, the cost of one coin has risen from $1,500 to over $7,000, and in August, the bitcoin market hit $150 billion. The non-fiat currency originally championed by programmers and libertarians is now catching the attention of the general public with people asking: “What’s it’s value based on?” “What is bitcoin mining?” And, most importantly, “How do I spend it?”
For a crypto enthusiast, explaining the first two questions to the uninitiated feels a lot like explaining the internet to a layman in 1994. But the third question is now getting easier to answer. bitcoin is accepted as payment by large companies, including Overstock, Expedia, eGifter, Newegg, Microsoft, Virgin Galactic, OKCupid, and Tesla. And now, a U.K. company has created a debit card that lets people use bitcoin as easy as they would any other currency.
London Block Exchange (LBX) is launching a #Visa card that will allow users to spend their #cryptocurrencies. The "Dragoncard" is designed to counter a key criticism of #bitcoin - that it is largely a commodity and has few applications in the real world. https://t.co/DcmtdBW3ih pic.twitter.com/z1knQPNch5— Alain (@AlainM1978) November 15, 2017\n
London Block Exchange (LBX) is launching a new Visa debit card (known as the Dragoncard) that allows users to make purchases with cryptocurrencies anywhere across the U.K. The card not only supports bitcoin, but other cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Monero. The card will instantly convert the cryptocurrency into pounds for a 0.5% fee. Signing up will cost £20, and there’s a small fee for ATM withdrawals.
Although having a cryptocurrency subject to bank fees and red tape flies in the face of the libertarian ethos that inspired cryptos in the first place, making these currencies easier to spend definitely increases their practical value. According to Benjamin Dives, LBX’s chief executive, it’s bringing cryptos into the mainstream by “removing the barriers to access, and by helping people understand and have confidence in what we believe is the future of money.”