It’s not easy to buy altcoins. You have to find an exchange to swap your boring old fiat money for Bitcoin. And then you have to send it to another exchange that has the crypto in question. But not anymore.
Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by volume, added the ability for users to buy BTC, ETH, LTC and XRP with their credit card today. This has been a feature sorely missed, with rivals like Coinbase having had the upper hand since 2017. Prior to the launch, Binance had been experimenting with fiat gateways on its smaller platforms, such as its Japan and Uganda fiat-to-crypto exchanges. But this is the first time it has provided this kind of support on its main site, Binance.com.
The payment gateway is being provided by Israel-based Simplex, a credit card payments processing company. “The crypto industry is still in its early stages and most of the world’s money is still in fiat. Building fiat gateways is what we need now to grow the ecosystem, increase adoption and introduce crypto to more users,” said Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance.
This does not mean that Binance.com will become a fiat-to-crypto exchange. Currently, Binance allows users to trade crypto against a group of stablecoins. For now, that's unlikely to change, but in the future, things could change. Binance has been actively ramping up its efforts to launch fiat-to-crypto exchanges, including an upcoming one in Jersey. But banks may come along and spoil the party.
Many banks have restricted accounts if they suspect the deals are related to cryptocurrency transactions. In fact, many banks have banned crypto purchases using credit cards altogether. In addition, Mastercard and VISA have continued to make life difficult for crypto websites, reclassifying them as high risk. A case in point: much excitement was caused when WaveCrest launched its BitPay VISA card in May 2017. Yet it wasn’t long before VISA crashed the party and stopped all of the cards from working. With this new announcement, let’s hope the banks are on-board and that history won’t repeat itself. Because, by the looks of things, crypto needs this boost.