Paying for your groceries or a doctor’s visit with bitcoin by card is closer than you think. A recently launched British cryptocurrency exchange website, London Block Exchange (LBX), announced plans to launch in a few weeks a card in partnership with Visa that will allow cryptocurrency investors to make regular payments in pounds sterling across the UK, reports the Telegraph.
“If a shop accepts Visa, it now accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or Ripple,” says LBX CEO Benjamin Dives.
The London Block Exchange was founded and is chaired by former Credit Suisse and UBS banker Adam Bryant.
“Cryptocurrency has come of age with LBX,” Bryant said. “We’re offering a grown up and robust experience for those who wish to safely and easily understand and invest in digital currencies. We’re confident we’ll transform this market in the UK and will become the leading cryptocurrency and blockchain consultancy for institutional investors and consumers alike.”
The debit card, dubbed “Dragoncard,” is the first successful attempt to convert cryptocurrency into pounds sterling at the point of sale, with approval from UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. For the first time ever, users can make regular payments in stores by converting Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Monero into real money. Other virtual currencies will be added to the portfolio in the future.
The transactions don’t come for free, as each will have a 0.5% conversion charge and a one-off charge of £20. Cash machine withdrawals will also have a fee, but no details have been provided on that yet.
For now, the card is invitation-only, but the exchange is live and those interested can pre-register. The card is issued by Wavecrest, a pre-paid card provider in Gibraltar, and it is linked to a mobile app through which investors buy and keep cryptocurrency.
“Despite being the financial capital of the world, London is a difficult place for investors to enter and trade in the cryptocurrency market,” Dives said.
“We’ll bring it 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.”