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Visa Crackdown on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Debit Cards Has No Big Impact

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM
Joseph Young
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM

Visa, the $270 billion financial service provider and credit card network, has terminated its partnership with Wave Crest, a Gibraltar-based digital payment processing company, effectively disabling bitcoin and cryptocurrency debit cards.

TenX, Xapo, Coins.ph, Bitwala, BitPay, CryptoPay, Users All Affected

All of the bitcoin and cryptocurrency debit card service providers including TenX, Xapo, Coins.ph, Bitwala, BitPay, and CryptoPay have been affected by the crackdown of Visa on Wave Crest. Cryptocurrency debit card service providers have been relying on Wave Crest and its Visa partnership to process cryptocurrency payments.

The immediate termination of partnership between Visa and Wave Crest led to the abrupt closure of cryptocurrency debit card services provided by many companies in the cryptocurrency sector.

“We can confirm that Wave Crest’s Visa membership is being terminated due to non-compliance with our operating rules. All Wave Crest-issued Visa card programmes will be closed as a result. The termination of Wave Crest’s Visa membership does not affect other Visa issuers’ card programmes, including those using fiat funds converted from cryptocurrency,” said Visa in a statement. 

Users of Xapo, TenX, BitWala, and BitPay, which amount to several millions, have been told that they will no longer be able to utilize their cryptocurrency debit cards. Xapo, which has been operating one of the most widely utilized bitcoin debit card platforms, told its users in an official statement that it will explore new methods the company can implement to revive its cryptocurrency debit card venture.

On January 5, Anni Rautio, head of Xapo Debit Card, wrote: 

“As of January 4th, 2018, Wave Crest Holdings, Ltd. issuer of the the Xapo Card Program, was instructed by Visa to cancel all its Visa Programs effective immediately. As a result, all the cards of the Xapo Cards Program were deactivated.

We’re already exploring various alternative card solutions. While we are not ready to announce anything yet, looking for potential new card issuers has been (and continues to be) at the forefront of our mission.”

Other cryptocurrency debit card service providers issued similar statements, and reassured their users that they will seek out new ways to roll out debit card services to users.

The Bitwala team also stated, “following an announcement from our card issuer on behalf of Visa Europe, Bitwala cards are taken out of operation starting today. Our team is holding an emergency meeting to resolve the issue with the card holders’ best interest in mind and will make an update shortly.”

No Big Impact

Visa’s abrupt termination of its partnership with Wave Crest has not impacted the cryptocurrency sector and companies within it at a large scale, contrary to the expectations of analysts. With the exception of TenX, which operates a cryptocurrency of its own that solely revolves around the debit card venture of the company, Visa’s termination of cryptocurrency debit card services have not had a big impact on the price of bitcoin.

The recent Visa and Wave Crest fiasco has demonstrated to the users and investors within the cryptocurrency market that the bitcoin industry is not dependent on a single company or a service provider to maintain its user base and user activity.

Featured image from Shutterstock.