Bitcoin payments app Fold has joined Visa's Fintech Fast Track program, setting the stage for its launch of a Visa debit card that allows users to spend U.S. dollars and earn bitcoin cashback rewards.
Announcing the news on Thursday, Fold said it is the first crypto company to be admitted into the fast track program. The program, hosted by the payments giant to accelerate fintech startups' integration with Visa, has been piloted around the globe and only expanded to the U.S. last July.
"By joining Visa's Fast Track program, exciting Fintechs like Fold gain unprecedented access to Visa experts, technology, and resources," Visa SVP and global head of fintech Terry Angelos in a statement. "Fast Track lets us provide new resources that rapidly growing companies need to scale with efficiency."
Prior to Fold, crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, Crypto.com, and Binance have all announced their own debit cards. However, unlike Fold, these debit cards only support users to spend bitcoin.
"Fold is one of the first companies that allow you to spend bitcoin in the real world... As bitcoin has evolved and as our relationship with bitcoin has changed, we have morphed to fit what the true value of bitcoin is. That is, giving you the easiest way to accumulate this new asset but also do it in a way that you don't have to buy it, and you don't have to go through KYC," Fold CEO and cofounder Will Reeves told The Block.
Notably, Binance recently scrubbed all mentions of Visa from the publicized content for its newly unveiled Binance Card product. While the reason behind Binance's move is unclear, Reeves said Fold in fact went through "pretty significant diligence about company financials, vision for the company, and marketing plan for how to make this a sustainable program" in order to join Visa's fast track program and issue a co-brand card with Visa.
"For us, it was really incredible that we were able to get Visa behind the value proposition of bitcoin rewards but also have them bring us as the first crypto company in the fintech fast track program," said Reeves.
According to Reeves, the new Visa debit card will be released in Q3, and a waitlist is currently open for people to register interest. To sign up, users will need to provide their phone numbers and addresses, or to confirm ownership of a bank account.
Fold currently allows users to earn up to 20% bitcoin cashback rewards when they purchase and use gift cards from merchants such as Starbucks, Uber, and Target. With the new card, users can compound their rewards by buying these gift cards with their Fold debit cards.
Last September, the firm raised a $2.5 million seed round from Craft Ventures, CoinShares, and Slow Ventures.
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