Prepaid Card Facilitates Exchange of Traditional Currency to Bitcoins (Aug. 22, 2013)
Aug. 22, 2013
Bitcoin Ventures Inc. is aiming to make it easier for consumers to obtain and make transactions with Bitcoin virtual currency. The Calgary, Alberta-based software development company and provider of Bitcoin e-commerce solutions has announced CoinTap, a prepaid card the company says streamlines “an otherwise tricky and time-consuming process” of exchanging traditional currency for bitcoins.
“We have been frustrated by how difficult it has been to get bitcoins in the past and we want to make bitcoins accessible to the masses using conventional technology,” Ashley Fulks, chief science officer at Bitcoin Ventures Inc., tells Paybefore.
CoinTap cards are similar to prepaid cards; a consumer buys a card and enters an activation code on the CoinTap Website. A $50 gift card, for example, is redeemable for $50 in credit, which then can be used to purchase bitcoins at a “competitive” exchange rate through the company’s Website. The company has not announced which retailers will offer CoinTap cards, but its Website says it has “global distribution in the works.”
As Bitcoin attracts growing interest from the general public, it also is drawing mounting concern from regulators around the world. Thailand’s central bank last month declared Bitcoin illegal, and Germany declared Bitcoin a recognized “unit of account,” meaning that citizens will have to pay capital gains on Bitcoin income.
In the U.S., California’s Department of Financial Institutions issued a cease-and-desist order against a nonprofit that promotes bitcoins, and Virginia warned Bitcoin exchanges that they may be in violation of money-transmission laws. Earlier this year, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued guidance regarding virtual currencies. And, in this month alone, New York State’s Department of Financial Services announced that it had launched an investigation into virtual currencies, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Amos L. Mazzant deemed Bitcoin a form of currency in connection with a charge by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the operator and founder of Bitcoin Savings and Trust allegedly defrauded investors.