Binance and TravelbyBit launch cryptocurrency-backed rewards card
Meet the Binance and TravelbyBit prepaid cryptocurrency debit card, coming to a planet near you in early 2020.
This means that as soon as early 2020, you'll be able to load a travel rewards card with BUSD, BTC, BNB and ONT, pay with that crypto card at top travel sites like Booking.com, Expedia and Agoda (and TravelbyBit, of course) and earn rewards as you do.
Plus, it's also a straightforward cryptocurrency-loaded prepaid debit card, so it's not just for travel. It can be used to make withdrawals from ATMs, buy things at stores, scrape ice off your car windscreen on your next cryptocurrency-powered ski trip, and so on.
If you're already excited about pulling this thing out of your wallet, you can join the waiting list here.
The card will initially be available throughout Southeast Asia, Australia and Europe, with more countries gradually being added after launch. The project was initialised by TravelbyBit, in collaboration with the Binance development team.
In the bigger picture, it's also a significant step towards the wider use of cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency as a payment method is most practical when it lets you avoid the costs of navigating different exchange rates. This really only comes up in two places. Cross-border payments are one of them.
However, when making cross-border payments, the usual procedure is to go to a money transfer service. As such, the applications of cryptocurrency here are largely geared towards business use and companies like Ripple. As such, the applications of cryptocurrency in cross-border payments don't necessarily translate into more people acquiring and using cryptocurrency, which may be why it's not doing much to spur cryptocurrency adoption on the ground.
Travel is different though. Cryptocurrency can still deliver the same benefits of dodging exchange rates here, but to get those benefits, the end-user actually has to possess and use the cryptocurrency themselves.
The numbers are significant too. The world saw 1.4 billion total tourist arrivals in 2018, which translates into a lot of people who potentially have good reason to start exploring crypto.
Travel may prove to be an important part of wider cryptocurrency adoption. But despite its importance, TravelbyBit is one of only a very small handful of companies exploring this avenue of cryptocurrency adoption.
A cryptocurrency-backed travel rewards card is naturally a valuable addition to TravelbyBit's lineup, making it that much more easily useable and rewarding.
"Many businesses that accept crypto for their services charge users a high premium, which poses a significant barrier to adoption," said TravelbyBit CEO Caleb Yeoh. "At TravelbyBit, we want to make crypto useable, provide incentives for early adopters and see crypto adoption grow. We are excited to work closely with Binance to bring crypto payments to travellers around the globe."
Disclosure: The author holds BNB and BTC at the time of writing.
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