Visa has come out in force, effectively causing a number of bitcoin debit card providers such as Bitwala and Bitpay to shut down services affecting thousands of customers predominantly across Europe.
Bitcoin debit cards have become a staple for many wishing to use bitcoin without being restricted to largely online services. Bitcoin debit cards are a functional solution to the problem as the cards essentially allow payment with bitcoin wherever a card processor is accepted. In this case Visa, being the card issuer, has allowed a handful of bitcoin companies to become licensed retailers of prepaid visa cards which could be funded via crypto including bitcoin.
WaveCrest holdings is one of the main companies which has provided the financial backing for many services which allowed Visa cards to be purchased. These included the likes of Bitpay which has become a global player having expanded to serve all continents with plans of serving well over 131 countries by the end of 2018.
“We have already notified our partners and cardholders of Visa’s requirement to close these accounts and our first priority is to ensure the safe and timely return of all funds. We deeply regret the inconvenience that this has caused to all of our customers affected by this decision. WaveCrest’s business outside of its Visa membership remains unaffected and we continue to invest in delivering world-class B2B payment solutions to partners around the world.”
The ceasing of services is currently limited to Europe as currently other areas of the world remain unaffected including the US and Africa. This was discovered as Bitpay services will continue uninterrupted in the US despite having to halt prematurely in Europe from the 5th of January. Solutions are already being researched by the likes of CryptoPay which has announced it is looking into a different card provider.