While BitCoin has no issuing authority, there are services that exchange the digital currency to real cash; and those who use BitCoin know or even use a company called BitInstant, a company gives users the ability to transfer and exchange funds between BitCoin and other currencies quickly and easily. Now the company is doing something that has not done before, a BitCoin credit and debit card.

Recently, Charlie Shrem, co-founder of BitInstant LLC, announced in IRC that they are 6 to 8 weeks away from a bitcoin-funded international debit/credit card.

According to the discussion from IRC, the BitCoin card…

  • Will function as a standard debit/credit card and should be accepted anywhere that accepts MasterCard, even internationally.
  • The first 1,000 or so will be given away for free, subsequent cards will cost an unknown, but fairly low, amount of money. It is assumed that it will cost around $10 assumely.
  • Funding the card will cost roughly a 1% fee.
  • Each card will have a QR code on the front and a printed address on the back for funding.
  • There will be an option to hold your card’s balance in bitcoin’s BTC until the card is used to make a payment or withdrawal.
  • Transactions under $1,000 will be funded after the first confirmation. Transactions over $1,000 were not said at the moment.
  • The cards will be issued by “a major international bank” BitInstant teamed up with; which means that traditional AML or other local laws & regulations for obtaining a bank account, such as proof of identity, will apply as per your jurisdiction.
  • You own the address on the card, but, as of right now, BitInstant has not yet determined the best way to hand over your private keys, or whether they should even offer such an option.

You can sign up to be notified when they announce it on their Google Docs Forum, though it will take 6 to 8 weeks to even start offering it. Until then, you still have to use plain old cash to pay for things right now.

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