In brief

  • Coinbase is now a Visa principle member.
  • This will make it easier for it to expand its debit card service.
  • It also shows that Visa endorses cryptocurrency.

Coinbase is now a Visa principal member, making it the first “pure-play cryptocurrency company” to achieve Visa certification. According to a press release posted on February 19, Visa membership will permit the firm to expand its crypto debit card offerings.

“This membership will enable us to continue to grow the Coinbase Card offering; from additional services to more markets that help to evolve and enrich the cryptocurrency payment experience,” explains the Coinbase blog.

Coinbase can now sell its crypto debit card more easily. Image: Shutterstock.

Last year Coinbase joined forces with Visa, launching Its Coinbase debit card in the UK and has since opened up to 29 markets Europe-wide. The Coinbase Card provided customers a means to spend Coinbase’s roster of cryptocurrencies—including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH)—at any Visa accepting merchant.

Sticking it to the middleman

Since 2019, the Coinbase Card has been issued via Paysafe—a payment processing solution and issuer—which acts as an intermediary between Coinbase, Visa, and the customer. Now, with Visa principal membership, Coinbase has a primary link to Visa, along with the right to issue the Coinbase Card to anyone—or any company—directly.

In an interview with Forbes, Zeeshan Feroz, CEO of Coinbase UK—the subsidiary which received the Visa membership—noted how this transition from Paysafe issuance would expand the firm’s business model:

“You have a dependency on their risk appetite and the models they’d like to work with,” said Feroz. “Direct membership allows us to take control of our issuing program.”

Coinbase notes that Visa certification will aid cryptocurrency utility and potentially further mainstream adoption.

“Today’s announcement is another significant milestone in the mainstream adoption of crypto as a genuine utility,” the company wrote, adding, “We will continue to build on this relationship with further initiatives which make interacting with crypto as seamless as possible for our customers.”

But no matter how seamless, not even Coinbase will be able to win over billionaire investor Warren Buffet, it seems.