Instead of being restricted to just internet purchases, imagine being able to use digital currency in the real world. With the help of a start-up in Singapore, it could soon be as easy as swiping a credit card.
A company called TenX is pitching its Visa card that can instantly convert digital currencies like bitcoin into fiat money in nearly any currency.
It could just be a game changer for bringing together the digital and physical worlds of payment.
Digital Money in the Real World
TenX already has an app that works like a digital wallet connected to a Visa card. When the card is swiped, the merchant is paid in local currency and the money comes out of the user’s crypto account. The new physical Visa card takes it the next level.
To use, the customer simply swipes the card like any other credit card, and the money is converted to the correct format. Transactions are processed immediately, which opens doors to use the card at grocery stores, coffee shops, and retailers around the world.
The product is currently aimed at smaller transactions, since transactions are limited to $2,000 a year, and the company takes a 2% cut of each transaction.
The card can support eight different digital currencies, ranging from the popular bitcoin to the lesser-known dash and augur. Bu the end of 2017, the company hopes to support 11 cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have long been faced with the issue of how to work in the real world. The new card from TenX potentially addresses that problem. However, it comes during a rocky period for cryptocurrency companies, as bitcoin recently dropped to record lows before recovering.
“You’re mixing two worlds that are night and day,” said TenX co-founder Julian Hosp. “When the user spends the cryptocurrency, we have to instantly switch these currencies to fiat and pay to Visa straight away. It’s a lot of pathways.”
Before the card, cryptocurrencies could only be used online and were a way to make payments that weren’t trackable back to a bank account or personal information. Taking that ability into the real world could change how we make payments.
The concept of combining digital and physical currency seems to be catching on. So far, TenX has received more than 10,000 orders for its cards. The company currently processes $100,000 in transactions each month and is predicting $100 million in monthly transactions and a million global users by the end of 2018. The company also has plans to make it possible to switch cryptocurrencies within the app.
Although it raised $80 million through a token sale in June, experts are already predicting that the concept will catch on and that TenX will soon have competition from numerous other start-ups.
“It’s an incredible concept,” said analyst Mati Greenspan. “At the end of the day, it’s going to depend a lot on customer relations. Are they meeting the customers’ expectations? Can somebody else do it better?”
Other companies have tried somewhat similar products over the years and only received lukewarm response. However, TenX has a stronger backing to its product and has the benefit of being combined with an app and being usable in a variety of different situations.
Cryptocurrency has changed how the internet pays for things, and the new payment method from TenX could bring it out of the computer and into real life, which could once again change our payment methods and continue the connection between the digital world and the real world.