Pay with Bitcoin? Wirex Launches Asia Pacific Debit Card (APAC)

The payment service provider Wirex has announced the launch of its crypto-capable Visa debit card for the Asia-Pacific region (APAC). As a result, Wirex customers from the region will in future be able to pay Visa skeptics not only with Fiat, but also – at least indirectly – with Bitcoin.

 

The demand for such services is enormous in the APAC region, says Wirex CEO Pavel Matveev:

 “We have seen an explosion in demand for hybrid fiat- and crypto-capable banking alternatives in the APAC region, where people need future-proof payments that allow them to unlock the value of their different currencies”

 

Maatvev quotes Maatvev in a press release issued on 11 November

Wirex offers the opportunity to buy and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum & Co. off-exchange via its own app. Direct payment with Bitcoin is therefore not possible – as is the case, after all, the merchant side would also have to accept BTC for this. Paying with crypto currencies at Wirex is therefore not as “smooth” as advertised in the press release. Before that, customers have to convert their crypto deposits quickly into euros, US dollars, yen & Co.

Apart from that, Wirex advertises with a reward program. For card payments in a store (i.e. excluding online shopping), customers receive 0.5 percent of the purchase amount in Bitcoin back. This value increases by up to 1.5 percent if one is not too sorry to hoddle several hundred thousand units of the Wirex “currency” WXT.

 

Paying with Bitcoin – the key to the breakthrough?

Older people may remember that Bitcoin was originally designed as a currency for exchanging value(s) without middlemen. In recent years, this idea has increasingly given way to the narrative of Bitcoin as a digital value store. This is also due to the fact that Bitcoin, with an average of less than 10 transactions per second, is far from playing in the league of established payment service providers such as PayPal or MasterCard. Bitcoin’s difficult scalability is primarily due to its decentralized structure and the computationally intensive proof-of-work algorithm. For this reason, the Bitcoin community has been working on the Bitcoin Lightning Network for quite some time now to achieve significantly higher transaction throughput by processing some transactions off-chain. Several religious wars have already broken out in the cryptoverum during the scaling debate.