Bitcoin Core Developer Scorns BitPay After Mass Debit Card Shutdown

· January 5, 2018 · 7:45 am

Bitcoin Core developer Jonas Schnelli has hit out at payment processor BitPay after it suddenly “deactivated” all its non-US debit cards.

Visa Wields Axe On Prepaid Cards

In a message to users, BitPay explained that its card issuer, Wave Crest, “received direction from (Visa) to immediately close all accounts of its prepaid (Visa) debit card programs,” of which its prepaid Bitcoin debit card was one.

A lack of notice meant the company had no choice but to immediately shut down spending from all its customers outside the US, BitPay claimed.

The message continued with:

Unfortunately, Wave Crest was unable to provide us or cardholders with more time to prepare for this change.

It then added:

…Your BitPay Card account is now deactivated, and you will not be able to use it for further payments or withdrawals.

Schnelli added that funds were “blocked/ unavailable for now,” while BitPay promised cardholders would receive refunds.

BitPay U-Turns Leave Bitter Taste

The move is a further headache for BitPay users. The operator has received criticism previously for its slow implementation of SegWit support and seemingly arbitrary changing of conditions for its users.

Schnelli was likewise unimpressed with the company’s performance, echoing ongoing tensions over Bitcoin fees.

BitPay, meanwhile, hinted it was seeking to offer disenchanted cardholders an alternative, without giving details or a time frame.

BitPay forecast:

We are already in discussions with potential alternative issuers for the BitPay Card which will allow us to serve customers in Europe and beyond. The BitPay Card will continue to be available for users in the United States without interruption, and we expect to be back in your country soon.

Bitcoin debit cards have traditionally been a mixed blessing, with users paying a raft of fees for the privilege of instantly-spendable funds similar to Bitcoin ATMs.

Nonetheless, both have enjoyed increasing popularity as newcomers look for so-called ‘off-ramps’ to spend their cryptocurrency holdings.

Are you impacted by the sudden cessation of the BitPay debit cards? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Twitter/@_jonasschnelli and Pixabay.