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Shift Card, a US-based VISA credit/debit cryptocurrency card that enabled consumers to spend directly from their Coinbase wallets, has announced that it will be shutting down.
In a letter sent to customers, Shift Card said the cards will continue operating until they shut down on April 11, 2019, but they “plan to relaunch the program and issue new cards in the near future”. However, the letter did not state the reason for shutting down nor the schedule for relaunching. Shift was launched in 2015 and issued its cards through the Metropolitan Commercial Bank.
The shut down will leave American cryptocurrency user with little options in terms of cryptocurrency credit/debit cards, which greatly inhibits further cryptocurrency adoption and value offerings.
Reliance on third parties
While cryptocurrency credit/debit cards are convenient and greatly expand consumers’ spending radius, they also have the down side of relying on third parties that are ultimately subject to regulations that can interfere with the card’s operation. This has been seen readily with the numerous cryptocurrency debit/credit card companies that have opened and closed throughout the years. Bitpay has been one of the more steady services, but only supports Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, which severely limits its appeal. Other physical card companies like Wirex, Uquid, Cryptopay, and Spectrocoin only service EU countries. Then there are physical cards like Paycent, FuzeX, and PolisPay that service Dash and other altcoins.
These cards help temporarily bridge the adoption gap, but ultimately keep the user in a constant state of uncertain of when the card may stop working and they will not be able to spend their money. While some of these card services only shut down temporarily, this is a major roadblock for mass adoption since the individuals that cryptocurrency was intended to help cannot go more than a day without spendable currency. Thus, the continuous issues with physical cards highlight the importance of direct merchant adoption so the payments can truly be trustless.
Dash focused on being used as trustless money
Dash is focusing on being directly integrated into merchants around the world or via multiple POS devices to ensure that merchants and consumers have numerous ways to conduct a transaction. Dash currently has over 4,800 merchants accepting Dash around the world, which is relatively small compared to where a VISA card is spendable, but Dash users do not have to worry as much that their money might be unspendable because a third party had to shut down.
Dash is able to create these merchant integrations by having decentralized community outreach groups to individually reach out to merchants and explain the benefits of Dash to them in a unique way. Dash is also able to integrate into numerous POS devices like AnyPay, PayLive, Spark, Salamantex, QR.CR, and many more, which helps mitigate the reliance on the functionality of each POS service. As Dash continues to grow into more merchant solutions through multiple methods, it will become more decentralized and robust.