A crypto debit card is one of the ways people around the world are spending their cryptocurrencies. They are a solution to the problem of the low acceptability of cryptocurrencies as media of exchange.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have everything that a medium of exchange needs. In some aspects, they are even superior to traditional payment methods. For example, besides high security and privacy, they support instant settlements across borders, including micro-payments.
Indeed, the number of merchants accepting cryptocurrencies is on the rise because many are discovering this potential. Today we have e-commerce sites that accept cryptocurrencies as their primary payment method. An example of these is Overstock.com.
However, since cryptocurrencies are not legal tender—meaning the law doesn’t compel people to accept them—most merchants have no incentive to add them to their payment methods.
And that is the problem that crypto debit cards are designed to solve.
The cards are issued through partnerships with major payment processors, in particular Visa, MasterCard, and Unionpay. Ideally, they are linked to your crypto wallet as well as an exchange that converts your coins into the currency that the merchant accepts.
Since Visa, Mastercard, or UnionPay support a crypto debit card, you can shop in millions of offline and online stores.
Today, there are about a hundred different crypto debit card brands that are available around the world. The availability of a particular brand to you is, however, dependent on your country of residence.
With that being the case, how popular are crypto debit cards? And which countries have a high demand for this service?
Going by the number of companies issuing crypto Debit Cards and the increasing conversation online about this service, there is a growing demand.
It is difficult, though, to get the actual numbers on usage, especially country by country. That is in particular because most service providers do not publicize enough data to create a clear picture.
However, there is data that can help us infer the trends and get a general understanding of the market.
In February 2021, Crypto Parrot, a trading simulator platform, published a report on the popularity of the search phrase ‘crypto debit card’ on Google Trends by country. The highest score a search phase had attained was 100.
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According to the study, the following are the eight countries with the most interest in crypto debit cards.
The search phrase ‘crypto debit card’ scored 100 in the West African country. This high score and rank seem to collaborate with other studies showing the country to be among those with the most crypto activity.
For example, Usefultulips.org has shown Nigeria to have had the most crypto trading activities, especially on peer-to-peer marketplaces like Localbitcoins and Paxful in 2021.
The crypto debit cards shipped to Nigeria include ClubSwan, Paycent, and Uquid.
Australia comes a distant second with a score of 45 on Google Trend. With a friendly regulatory environment, the country is home to major projects such as Chronobank and OXEN. It also has a significant crypto community.
Some of the crypto debit cards that serve the market include ClubSwan, CoinJar card, crypto.com, Wirex.
The search phrase scores 44 on Google Trends in the Netherlands. The regulatory environment in the Netherlands is similar to that of the rest of western Europe, which is a bit strict on crypto handling.
Despite this and the fact that the country has a small population (17 million), it seems many Netherlanders are interested in holding crypto and using it to shop.
The crypto debit cards available in the Netherlands include ClubSwan, Binance, Crypterium, AdvCash, Cryptopay, Coinbase, Crypto.com, and Wirex.
The phrase scores 40 on Google Trends in Canada. The country is home to major blockchain companies and projects. For example, the blockchain solutions company Blockstream, which employs many of Bitcoin’s core developers, is headquartered in the city of Victoria.
There is also a huge active community of crypto users in the country. Some of the crypto debit cards available to users in Canada include ClubSwan, Crypto.com, Spend, Nexo, BlockFi, Shakepay, Gemini, Coinbase, and Binance.
5. United States
The United States has been a difficult market for cryptocurrency companies, including crypto debit card service providers. Regulations both at the federal and state levels have pushed many crypto companies to exclude Americans from the clientele they serve.
Nevertheless, the phrase scores 39 in the US. Some of the debit cards issued to residents of the United States include Coinbase, Wirex, BlockFi, BitPay, Crypto.com, Binance, Nuri, and Blockcard.
6. United Kingdom
Generally, the United Kingdom has been a friendly market to financial technology (Fintech), and it is home to several major players in the global Fintech space.
The country scores 36 in regard to the interest showed by its population in crypto debit cards. The crypto debit cards available to users in the UK include ClubSwan, Wirex, MCO, Coinbase, CryptoPay, Revolut, AdvCash, and Monolith.
India is a huge untapped market, especially because it has a huge unbanked population. This market can be served well by most applications being made possible by technologies like blockchain.
It is therefore expected to have a significant interest in crypto debit cards. The phrase crypto debit card scores 15 on Google Trends in India.
The debits cards shipped to users in India include Crypto.com, Wirex, CryptoPay, Raxcard, BitPlastic, Nexo, Coinbase, Crypterium, and BitPay.
Germany has been a friendly market for financial innovation even though it shares regulations with the wider Europe. It seems crypto debit cards are one of the innovations that Germans welcome going by what they are searching online.
The phrase scores of 12 on Google Trends in Germany.
Some of the crypto debit cards available to Germans include Crypterium, AdvCash, CryptoPay, Nuri, Crypto.com, Wirex, and Binance.
While the numbers on actual usage of crypto debit cards around the world might divert from the data we can see from online searches, this could be a useful indicator of what to expect as the industry evolves.