Are Visa, Mastercard Rueing Their Crypto Ban?

The news that major issuers Visa and Mastercard were banning the use of their networks to pay for cryptocurrencies and fund e-wallets sparked controversy in the ecosystem. The processors’ decision meant that users can no longer fund their crypto wallets via credit card, and many suspected it would impact card issuers as more people entered the crypto market.

While it’s still too soon to determine the long-term ramifications of the decision by the issuers—as well as multiple financial institutions—the move has already conceivably inflicted damage. A recent earnings call by Mastercard revealed the company had experienced slight losses since it announced the ban in the first quarter of 2018. The result, while not conclusive, is indicative of the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies as a payment method and shows that people are searching for creative ways to integrate these novel solutions into their everyday activities.

This popularity has also led the crypto community to come up with its own solution should credit card issuers remain on the opposing side. Crypto debit cards are an emerging payment method that simplifies the once complex process of converting coins to fiat to pay for regular goods and services. As credit card issuers and banks remain firmly against including cryptocurrencies in their future plans, the thriving new sector could establish a foothold in the market by offering a more comprehensive ecosystem.

The State of Crypto Cards

Crypto cards are the result of the field’s need to be more accessible as a real-world payment method. They are debit cards pre-loaded with an amount of bitcoin and theoretically can be used on existing payment networks such as Visa and Mastercard. The cards convert the appropriate amount of crypto to fiat when paying for goods and services.

Such was the promise of Wavecrest, one of the most heralded crypto card projects to emerge in the sector. The company was a major provider for other issuers until its services were banned by Visa, whose terms and conditions are notoriously strict and change depending on jurisdictions. For many companies and users, the news was explosive as it completely negated their investments and once again restricted their crypto use.

Even so, the sector has shown resilience and still delivers solutions that may reduce friction for transacting in cryptocurrencies. There