Crypto Debit Card Comes to Asia Through Wirex and i2C
Current cryptocurrency payment solutions are centered around payment processors like BitPay and debit card facilitators like Coinbase and Wirex. North America and Europe already have their fair share of crypto debit card providers, while Asia and Africa are relatively underpenetrated in this segment. Wirex’s foray into the continent gives its customers the ability to travel almost anywhere and use their card.
Bringing Crypto to Asia
Asia is a major hub of the cryptocurrency industry, acting as the headquarters for most miners, exchanges, and market makers. Retail payment solutions are a cornerstone of major adoption. Wirex has decided to partner with i2C as they are the only Asian-based processor that accepts fiat and cryptocurrencies.
Customers can pay using bitcoin, ether, nano, and a variety of fiat currencies that suit their preference using a Wirex card. The payment processor duly converts the assets in the customer’s account to the merchant’s preferred currency before sending it their way.
Wirex recently launched its Visa card which gave users a large bandwidth for spending as Visa is accepted across the globe. With 150 currencies, fiat and crypto, at the disposal of Wirex customers, they can travel anywhere without worrying about how to access money.
Routed Retail Payment Solutions
Not many e-commerce platforms actually accept cryptocurrency. Swiping your Coinbase debit card or paying through BitPay does not imply you are sending cryptocurrency to the merchant. Processors like BitPay actually liquidate the crypto you spend and send the merchant fiat in whatever currency they actually accept.
While many frown upon this, it does bring real-life usage to cryptocurrencies. Not every merchant will be willing to take on the volatility risk associated with crypto. So whether they directly accept it and liquidate it or have an intermediary do it for them makes no difference.
Options like BTCPayServer may be more in line with the Bitcoin ethos, and processors like this may be able to gain more traction as companies start to accept BTC and hedge it using Bakkt futures. Till the launch of Bakkt’s physically settled derivatives products, there was no way for a company to hedge against BTC price risk.