Coinbase to Introduce Instant Fiat Withdrawal Capabilities

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In Brief
  • Coinbase has partnered with Visa and Mastercard to introduce an instant crypto-to-fiat withdrawal facility.

  • The news is likely welcome by the crypto community but also carries some heavy fees.

  • The firm continues to try and salvage its reputation following a controversial company policy launched earlier in the week.

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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.

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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.

Disclaimer

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Ryan was BiC's U.S. Time Zone Editor until the end of Feb 2021. He is fascinated with the history and evolution of money and the role that crypto plays in fixing a broken financial system. When not meticulously looking over the charts, he can be found jamming some board games or running the trails in his local nature reserve.

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