Blur and Abine are set to release a service that will allow bitcoin users to shop at any online store that currently accepts Master Card. The program is available in a first-come first-served, closed beta.
Spend Bitcoin Anywhere Mastercard Is Accepted
Predictably, the service doesn't actually send bitcoin to any shops. Instead, customers will buy prepaid cards dubbed Masked Cards. These cards are used by the service to purchase desired products without the customer having to reveal his or her private information. Currently, Masked Cards are purchased using credit cards. Soon, customers will be able to purchase these cards using Bitcoin.
One caveat is this: The service has to be linked to a Coinbase account, users of other wallets are out of luck. However, that does enable zero confirmation transactions and makes for a smoother experience for those who are willing to switch or already have a Coinbase account.
Abine uses a browser plugin and automatically fills out the necessary information. In contrast, currently, Bitcoin users can always sell their bitcoin for fiat and then purchase products using their credit card, this method is quicker and user friendly. Abine does charge a monthly fee (but has a free 30 day trial) so there will be no additional charge for buying cards with bitcoin. If a customer's subscription expires with unspent card then the remaining amount will be returned to the bitcoin address that originally sent Abine the funds.
There are services that do similar things. Xapo, for example, is a prepaid debit card that customers can order and fund with their bitcoin. BTCShop allows customers to buy products at supported stores using bitcoin. However, Abine's Bitcoin Anywhere program is unique in that it is being integrated into a service with a privacy management suite that people already use.
In addition to the Bitcoin Anywhere service, customers will get access to Abine's suite of security features, including cookie management, password saving, and masked purchases. We will keep you up to date once the service launches in full.
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