Cryptocurrency has certainly had its up and downs since it was first being exchanged, and there is still a lot of resistance built up against it. But signs that this resistance is starting to grind down have become stronger and more frequent, including the fact that the best crypto cards are not much different from regular debit cards.
The Banking Industry Has Embraced Crypto
Way back in 2018, banking giant Goldman Sachs started structuring some of their investment products around crypto. It wasn’t long before JP Morgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and other banks jumped on the bandwagon. The problem was, although the cryptocurrency market was expecting institutional investors to arrive shortly, it wasn’t quite prepared. The infrastructure was woefully inadequate. What a difference two years can make.
Banks all over the world are now not only trading crypto, they are creating their own digital currencies and blockchain frameworks. These differ greatly from the general crypto market in a few important ways:
- The value of their digital currency is tied to various national currencies, making them much more stable.
- The currency is private, available only to the clients of each bank to pay each other.
Apparently, some of the bank executives thought the process was taking too long because a group of former Morgan Stanley developers launched their own exchange for cryptocurrency just a year later. It’s called Phemex.
PayPal Goes All In
There’s reason to believe that it won’t be much longer before momentum pitchforks cryptocurrency completely into the public realm. The first hint came in October 2020, when PayPal announced that their customers will be able to use crypto as a form of payment on the platform, starting early in 2021. Then just a month later, they updated the announcement to say that their customers were also going to be able to buy, sell, and hold the currency itself directly through their PayPal accounts.
Even the Skeptics are Changing Their Minds
Bernstein Research is part of AllianceBernstein Holding L.P., which is a global asset management company that provides investment research to institutional, retail, and other investors of the highest net worth. Inigo Fraser-Jenkins is a co-head of portfolio strategy for the firm, and he has been a vocal crypto-skeptic right up until this moment. Just as bitcoin hit new record highs, and gained more than 160% in this year-to-date, Fraser-Jenkins just flat out said, “I have changed my mind about bitcoin’s role in asset allocation.”
However, it was not an impressive rally that changed his mind. No, it was the pandemic. He said that not only has the policy environment changed significantly but so has diversification options and debt levels. He believes that there will be even greater demand for digital currency because the fiscal expansion that the pandemic triggered will very likely lead to increased taxes and inflation, which will make bitcoin more attractive as an investment.
The Government View
One of the strongest indications that cryptocurrency isn’t far from mainstream acceptance is that the U.S. government is now trying to regulate it. The “Crypto-Currency Act of 2020” was introduced in March of 2020 by a Republican representative from Arizona, Paul Gosar. A spokesman from his office stated that the bill was intended to “provide not only clarity but legitimacy to crypto assets in the United States.”
It’s hard to deny that cryptocurrency is finally building up so much momentum that it shouldn’t be very long at all before it will be approved for much greater use than it is now. However, there isn’t actually a whole lot more the general public can gain from further acceptance since cryptocurrency debit cards already exist.
While it’s been possible for a while now to make purchases with crypto, that market was relatively small. If you take a look at some of the best crypto cards, however, you’ll see that they can be used in much the same way as the ones that are linked to a checking account. There’s even one that’s backed by Visa. The main purpose of currency is to buy things. So being able to easily buy practically anything with crypto cards means that digital currency is pretty much already mainstream.