8 Comments

Summary:

Cryptex’s card is the first bitcoin-to-cash ATM card that also works as a debit card on the Discover network.

cryptex_card
photo: Cryptex

Bitcoiners may soon have a new way to use their cryptocurrency in the real world: the Cryptex Card, a new global bitcoin-to-cash ATM and debit card. The Hong-Kong based startup announced on Monday that it will begin shipping its cards in the next four to six weeks.

The Cryptex Card works like this: instead of buying products directly with bitcoin, the cardholder sends bitcoin to an address linked with the card, which converts it to cash. The card can then be used to withdraw money at more than 90 percent of U.S. ATMs or at certain ATMs in 80 countries. The cards are tied to Chinese card provider Union Pay, which lets the debit card work anywhere Discover cards are accepted.

Being able to exchange the currency for fast cash has been a problem for the bitcoin network. Another bitcoin debit card, BitPlastic, collects a 0.25 BTC deposit (which is refundable after $3500 worth of purchases) for one of its debit cards, which makes it hard for bitcoin owners who don’t have a lot invested to change it back into cash. Bitcoin ATM companies like Lamassu and Robocoin are now installing their machines throughout the world, but the Cryptex card might provide some liquidity for bitcoin holders that don’t live in a major city.

Since Cryptex does not charge for its card or the shipping, it makes its profits like a money transmitter on the exchange rate. It’ll likely be cheaper for bitcoin enthusiasts to just sell their coins on the market and receive the cash back into their bank accounts rather than placing it onto a debit card.

This article was updated on April 14 to reflect that the BitPlastic card collects a refundable deposit, not charges.

  1. Not a single word about fees. Every day the bitcoin world is looking more and more alike the usd world.

    Share
    1. Satoshi Nakamoto Monday, April 7, 2014

      Just as when I visit Canada or various other places abroad – I will assume that there will be a conversion fee on top of the ATM itself’s price.

      Share
  2. Karmacoin plans to do something similar, but more of a debit card tied to your Karmacoin

    Share
  3. Neal Palmquist Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Everybody knows that the real Bitcoin ATM is any stupid American who walks into a Bitcoin Exchange with cash. This story is BS Deluxe.

    “The Cryptex Card works like this: instead of buying products directly with bitcoin…”

    This right here is laugh out loud funny.

    Share
  4. the problem i see here is greed. in order for the promise of bitcoin to be realized, and fuel demand for it – transactions have to be net cheaper with bitcoin than with dollars. if vendors like overstock and cryptix continue to charge fees or inflate exchange rates and not pass on the benefits of cheap transfers to the consumer, it will continue to place downward pressure on bitcoin price as only held bitcoin is spent. if they lower fees such that its cheaper to buy with bitcoins, this will create demand for bitcoin, and the market will reach equilibrium.

    Share
  5. Yawn

    Share
  6. Michael Moriarty Monday, April 14, 2014

    Hi Biz Carson, you got it a little wrong :-)
    I am the owner of https://BitPlastic.com
    First of all, we don’t ‘charge’ 0.25btc for a card. We collect a 0.25btc DEPOSIT, and after the customer uses the card for $3500 worth of withdrawals, the deposit is fully refunded.
    Also, cryptex will verify identity of card users, whereas BitPlastic does not require ID verification.
    And finally, we have been in business over a year with 10,000+ clients. Seems like Cryptex has yet to ship a single debit card. It appears they received a venture capital cash infusion to generate some media hype about their card, but it will probably be just as useless as the CaVirtex ‘bitcoin atm card’ which did not live up to expectations. The BitPlastic card does EXACTLY what it says. With BitPlastic, users can convert their Bitcoins to cash at ATM machines worldwide. Period. No hype.

    Share
    1. Hi Michael. I have updated the article to reflect that you collect a refundable deposit rather than charging it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

      Share

Comments have been disabled for this post