Australian exchange CoinJar has confirmed the launch of its Swipe prepaid Bitcoin debit card, the first specifically designed for the Australian consumer spending infrastructure.
Swipe will be attached to a user’s CoinJar account and will allow withdrawal of AUD and point of sale transactions at any outlet on Australia’s electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) network.
While international Bitcoin debit cards have been available for some time, CoinJar’s status as perhaps the most recognized Bitcoin entity in the local space may well aid adoption among what it estimates to be 500,000 Australian Bitcoin users.
“We created Swipe because we simply wanted to make it easier for our customers to spend their bitcoin,” co-founder and CEO Asher Tan said in a press release issued yesterday. “Swipe demystifies Bitcoin and makes it accessible to everyone through a secure platform.”
The initial rollout of 100 cards is scheduled for next week, CoinJar tweeted recently, following which feedback will be gathered from customers before those on the pre-order list receive their card.
Despite some shaky attempts at legislation on the part of the central bank and regulators, CoinJar has gone from strength to strength in the Australian market following an AU$500,000 capital injection from Blackbird Ventures prior to the start of the year. In the last 12 months, over 30,000 private and business customers have processed more than AU$500,000 worth of transactions through the service.
The cards themselves will be produced in partnership with Emerchants, a local payment merchant manufacturing multiuse prepaid cards.
It is worth noting however that use of Swipe will be subject to a 2% exchange fee, and that ultimately funds could be converted from AUD to Bitcoin, and then back again, potentially making the concept less appealing to new investors. Nevertheless, given the often higher charges at Bitcoin-only ATMs, this could be a small price to pay.
CoinJar has been vocal in raising awareness of Swipe, with a competition rewarding the best projected use of the card with an LIFX smartphone controlled, color-changing light bulb.
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