Announced March 25, Bitwage is partnering with Xapo to create the world’s first international bitcoin payroll debit card. This is a big step forward for bitcoin practicality in the workplace, and in everyday life.

Last year Xapo raised US$20 million of funding, aiming to simplify security for bitcoin users, which is a constant issue in this corner of the tech industry. You can check out an interview with their CEO here.

Bitwage launched last year, coming about because of “…a missing link in the current financial circle - Payroll. If Bitcoin is to be popular, payroll is eventually going to be part of it.” Founder of Bitwage Jonathon Chester chatted with us here at Cointelegraph a few months ago about this and more.

One of the most oft heard criticisms of bitcoin’s usefulness today is a supposed lack of utility. This is largely a PR problem, as much as bitcoin acceptance is, but presents a valid point. There may be many services that can help take care of many day-to-day tasks, like paying for groceries, but they are often unintuitive or too intimidating for the average consumer. This partnership seems to be a step in the right direction for bridging that gap between the crypto-enthusiast and the everyman.

This is a new chapter for both companies with the partnership launching in beta, meaning that everyone who signs up will receive free Bitcoin debit cards.

These payroll BTC debit cards can serve dual purposes. First, it can aid in lowering overhead costs for businesses with payroll and wait time for payout on their employees’ earnings. It also makes it possible to easily spend funds anywhere with a card reader, simplifying the sometimes complicated process of spending bitcoin at brick and mortar stores.

Bitwage a Xapo logos

Since Bitwage partnered with Xapo for these cards, they’re able to send them to over 170 countries, and dispense earnings in local currencies. However, the cards cannot be sent to the US currently, but they reassure us that the cards will be distributed in the US as soon as possible where they will already be operational.

Currently, users can sign up at Bitwage’s site and get their free debit card to take advantage of this new system.

Note: We’ve reached out to Jonathan Chester for a few extra words on this big partnership, and we’ll add in his interview as soon as we can.