A bitcoin wallet known as Coinbase has just teamed up with VISA to offer the first bitcoin debit card in the US.
The card will basically allow you to purchase goods anywhere VISA is accepted across 24 US states. In New Jersey, for instance, you'll be able to use Coinbase's card - called Shift Card - to buy gas, groceries, etc. And it'll all be paid with bitcoin digital currency from your Coinbase account.
Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with bitcoin, because we've explained everything below, including how it works with Coinbase's new Shift Card.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a new kind of money. It's actually the first global, decentralised currency and can be digitally sent from one person to another without having to go through a bank or other financial institution. You can use bitcoins to securely purchase goods on the internet and in stores across the world. Also, when paying with bitcoins, there are no bank statements, and no need to provide personal information to the merchant.
If you'd like to know how much 1 bitcoin is worth, just do a Google search. The search engine will automatically do the exchange/conversion for you. For more information about Bitcoin, check out the video above from Bitcoin.org (a website that was originally owned by Bitcoin's first two developers, Satoshi Nakamoto and Martti Malmi, who founded the currency in 2009).
What is Coinbase?
Coinbase is an online bitcoin wallet for "buying, selling, sending, receiving, and storing" bitcoin. You can learn more about it from here.
What is Shift Card?
Coinbase has just announced the first debit card for bitcoin in the US. It is called Shift Card, and it is backed by VISA. At launch, it allows Coinbase users in 24 US states and territories (see list below) to spend bitcoin anywhere VISA is accepted, including brick-and-mortar stores.
Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia
How does Shift Card work?
Shift Card works like any other debit card: when you use it to make a purchase, the equivalent value of bitcoin (based on the current price of bitcoin on Coinbase) will be debited from your Coinbase bitcoin wallet. There are no transaction fees on domestic transactions (but only for a limited time), and there are no fees associated with the exchange of bitcoin to USD.
Check Shift's FAQ page for more details on fees. Also, by default, the daily spending limit is $1,000, and the daily ATM withdrawal limit is $200.
How can you get Shift Card?
- Go here to sign up: https://shiftpayments.com
- You'll need to authorise the card to be able to debit from your Coinbase wallet. You'll also need to specify which wallet to connect.
- Order the card by verifying your identity and authorising payment of the $10 issuance fee (which comes from your Coinbase wallet).
Go here to learn more about Shift Card.
Want to know more?
Check out Coinbase's blog post for additional information about Shift Card.