San Francisco-based Fold, an app offering bitcoin rewards to users, has joined Visa's Fintech Fast Track Program and plans to launch a co-branded Visa debit card that distributes as much as 10 percent of Bitcoin cash purchases instead of traditional reward points such as airline miles or cash.
Fold found that around 90 per cent of its existing 90,000 users would "switch spending away from their existing card" for a dollar-spending bitcoin reward card, it was reported.
"People are not interested in spending bitcoin right now, but are interested in accumulating it," Fold chief executive Will Reeves told Bloomberg financial newswire, adding that he thinks the card could bring a fresh wave of bitcoin adoption.
"If people don't understand bitcoin as money yet, they certainly will understand it as a better reward." Fold currently offers users the ability to spend Bitcoin or traditional currency on Amazon's online shopping site, ride hailing Uber app, and Starbucks coffee chain by synchronizing their accounts with an existing card or Bitcoin wallet.
According to Reeves, the bitcoin earned by users through rewards is not taxable since the bitcoin isn't sold.
"Because bitcoin has no end date, the benefits can be used to offset the cost of a buyer's next purchase, saved, or withdrawn - giving users flexibility," Fold wrote in a statement declaring the Visa-powered card.
The price of Bitcoin remains highly volatile but many in the community of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency are confident this year will rise.
In late 2017, Bitcoin exploded into public awareness following the bitcoin price rally from under $1,000 per bitcoin at the beginning of the year to around $20,000 by December. The bitcoin price has since rollercoastered to lows below $4,000 and back to nearly $15,000 last year.
The reward-based debit card of Fold and Visa follows similar but simpler offerings of Bitcoin cards from the cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Binance, though Binance has recently scrubbed all mention of Visa from its spending card promotional material.
"By joining Visa's Fast Track program, exciting fintechs like Fold gain unprecedented access to Visa experts, technology, and resources," Visa Senior Vice President and Fintech Global Head Terry Angelos said in a statement. "Fast Track lets us provide new resources that rapidly growing companies need to scale with efficiency." The waiting list is now open for the Fold card that begins shipping in July, with users required to provide phone number, address and bank account details.
In September last year, Fold raised $2.5 million in seed funding from the digital asset management firm CoinShares and the venture capital companies Craft Ventures and Slow Ventures.