Controversial crypto exchange giant Coinbase is making some amends after it announced that it would be facilitating instant fiat withdrawals starting from Fri 2 Oct.
The feature is a collaboration with major credit card partners in almost 40 countries, including the US and UK. Customers here and across Europe will be able to use a Visa-linked debit card for crypto-fiat conversions while US users will also have a Mastercard alternative.
Archaic Banking System Plays Catchup
For decades, transferring money internationally, and even locally, has been known to take several days. The advent of blockchain has reduced these times dramatically, and likely been an impetus for entrenched players to provide faster solutions.
For Coinbase customers, instant withdrawals will now be accommodated on top of the standard withdrawal methods. Terry Angelos, global head of fintech at Visa commented on the partnership,
By enabling real-time card withdrawals through the Visa Direct capability, Coinbase is delivering a faster, simpler and more connected experience for its users — making it easier to convert crypto balances into fiat, which can be spent at the more than 60M merchant locations where Visa is accepted,
Sherri Haymond, executive vice president for Digital Partnerships at Mastercard also echoed this sentiment,
Today’s consumers are digitally driven — seeking out real-time payment options that cater to their individual needs
It should be noted that this privilege still comes at a somewhat hefty fee of 1.5% (minimum of $0.55) for US customers, while UK and EU customers will have to fork out 2%.
No Rest for Coinbase
The move is good news for a company that appears to have no middle ground in the emerging crypto economy.
On Tuesday 29 Sep, Coinbase announced a controversial new company-first policy aimed at censoring political discussions at work. The decision did not sit well with many on social media:
Instant withdrawals are a long-sought-after feature by the crypto community, particularly in light of an increase in crypto exchange crack-downs in recent times.
Following the charges brought about by the CFTC on rival crypto exchange BitMEX On Thur 1 Oct, a record number of bitcoin has been withdrawn to competitors over the ensuing 24 hours.
Coinbase has seen its fair share of that stash. However, whether or not those customers choose to move their crypto back into fiat is another matter entirely.