Ternio becomes Visa’s first crypto enablement partner for debit cards
Ternio, a Georgia-based fintech, has become Visa’s first crypto-focused enablement partner for debit cards.
The firm – which issues debit cards for crypto transactions – will join the ranks of Visa’s major card-issuing and payment platform partners, such as Marqeta and Stripe.
These enablement partners allow Visa to provide interoperability between different payment types, all underpinned by Visa-branded cards.
Ternio takes this interoperability further, connecting up the world of blockchain with legacy financial systems.
How the partnership will work
Ternio already issues its cards with Visa via its BlockCard offering. But now, the formalisation of its partnership opens up a two-way relationship.
As well as onboarding its own customers to its card programme, Ternio can also onboard Visa’s fintech clients to it too.
“This shows Visa’s commitment to onboard other companies which develop [in] crypto,” Daniel Gouldman, Ternio’s co-founder and CEO, tells FinTech Futures. “What we’re doing is the future of banking.”
Visa works with a number of other cryptocurrency companies – such as Cred and Fold – in the context of its ‘Fast Track Programme’.
Terry Angelos, Visa’s global fintech head, explains how Ternio will work with these partners and take their capabilities further.
“Ternio’s focus and expertise in the crypto ecosystem will help ‘Fast Track’ companies focused on digital currencies to quickly and easily access Visa’s platform and its scale,” says Angelos.
The Ternio BlockCard
The fintech start-up already white labels its BlockCard. In August, it unveiled the first Litecoin (LTC) – a type of cryptocurrency – native Visa debit card on its BlockCard technology.
Because the card is natively LTC, the funds are only kept in LTC until the card gets swiped. Then the LTC coverts into your desired currency to pay.
This means Visa has onboarded an enablement partner whose technology allows consumers to spend the value of cryptocurrency in real-time.
Visa is accepted by around 61 million merchants worldwide, which means white-labelled BlockCards are now on course for major global adoption.
The card allows users to deposit more than 12 different cryptocurrencies. Users can also earn 6.38% “cryptoback” rewards on merchant purchases. And in US dollars, users can open a free checking account with which they can buy cryptocurrency.
Hurdles still to overcome
The partnership undoubtedly marks a big milestone for the cryptocurrency world. But Ternio’s founder Gouldman points out that there is still work to be done to make blockchain a better payment solution.
Ternio solves the issue of spending the value of a cryptocurrency in real-time, but Gouldman highlights that certain blockchains still encounter issues which hinder their value.
Currencies like Ethereum, he says, have gas fees – that is, the Ethereum blockchain charges people to transact on it.
“The hotter the network, the more the transaction fees – so it becomes very expensive,” explains Gouldman.
The industry often holds up blockchain as an alternative to the traditional, fee-ridden financial system. Whilst it does have its own fees in place on certain blockchains, Gouldman thinks there’s far more scope to scale and eat away at fee structures when “money is software”.
“As long as there’s a gatekeeper, you’ll always have to pay the bridge tax, that’s basically how financial systems work,” says Gouldman.
“But if money is software, it can infinitely scale. So, a start-up like us can provide this. Eventually, things will consolidate. But what we’re doing will eat away at fee structures.”