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Crypto Debit Cards Are Here. Well, Almost: Past-ICO Review

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  • Eric Eissler
    ⭐ Features

    What are the strings attached to crypto debit cards?

Crypto Debit Cards Are Here. Well, Almost: Past-ICO Review
Cover image via u.today

Coming out of crypto valley in Zug, Switzerland, the company Monaco, which has no relations to the principality of Monaco, has come out with an app and a debit card to make it easier to spend crypto without selling and get credit to make purchases to pay off later, or if you can’t pay it off your collateral Bitcoin on Monaco coin is used instead.

Furthermore, according to the website, there are no additional fees to send crypto to other wallets. According to their statements, Monaco is attempting to disrupt the way debit and credit cards are used. Let’s take a deeper dive and see if they are following through.

The Swiss bank account

Monaco and Switzerland, countries with names that ring with money. And Monaco rang in the money with its ICO, to the tune of $54 mln in fundraising, in a month-long ICO that took place between May 18 and June 18, 2017.

Its token, know as MCO, ERC20 token, entered the market at $2.24 per token and has seen several ups and downs since then, ending on a down note at $4.80 which is still more than double the entry price.

The all-time high was reached on Aug. 29, at $24.78. CoinMarketCap ranks it at 111 and it has a market cap of $75.3 mln with 15.7 mln, with only half of its 31.5 mln total tokens in circulation.

card

On the road to success, albeit a bumpy ride

Monaco has officially partnered with Visa to launch its card which can be used for everyday purchases. This explains the massive spike in the price back in August 2017.

Despite this, the Visa cards still have not been issued yet.

According to their recent blog post on June 19, the cards are going into a second round of testing and the first round found some errors that need to be corrected. There are two apps on the market, one for Apple and Android users. They also claim that Monaco has some 53,000 approved and registered users on the platform. Anxiously awaiting their visa cards, we can safely assume. To quote the post, “We should have the results back from 2nd round next week. No major issues expected now that the 1st round issues were corrected- relating to the configuration of the various systems.”

Monaco was unavailable to comment on the further development of the Visa cards; my email was returned.

Leading the way

The team behind the coin appears to be well known in the crypto circles among others, Kris Marszalek is the CEO behind the operation. He is well known in Southeast Asia as a serial entrepreneur. Since 2004, Marszalek has been a co-founder at five companies which he leads from start-ups to either be a successful company or to be acquired. He has a proven track record of building success.

CFO, Rafael Melo has been working in the mobile payments system industry for 15 years in southeast Asia and has a strong grasp of risk and compliance. He was the business finance officer for Mobile Payments Solutions, which was a MasterCard incubated technology company.

Bobby Bao is the managing director and is known in Southeast Asia for his work in investment banking, corporate development, and investor relations. His career spans the banking world in southeast Asia as well as North America.

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In good standing

Monaco has been successfully fulfilling its milestones as it is getting closer to launching fully with the Visa cards. According to the website, there are only six more milestones left to complete before the company is fully operational:

  • Visa cards ship in Asia

  • New Visa cards announcement

  • Visa cards shipping in Europe

  • Monaco Invest goes live

  • Visa cards ship in the US

  • Monaco credit goes live

It appears that they surpassed or on equal footing with their main competitor TenX, which is also linking crypto accounts to debit cards.

However, the business plan is well thought out. Once the cards are launched and are in use, Monaco stands to rake in the fees paid to them by the retailer.

On top of that, exchanges such as Coinbase, which offer a very limited selection of coins could then lose a lot of business to companies such as Monaco or TenX because they can easily move between crypto and fiat. Furthermore, if the company is going to be offering credit that can be leveraged with crypto and debts that can be paid with crypto or fiat, then there could possibly be a paradigm shift for the credit industry. We only need to wait and see.

card

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About the author

Eric Eissler is based in Chicago and works in higher-education administration and finance. He is a freelance writer covering blockchain technology, fintech, cryptocurrency, the oil and gas industry, and international politics.

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$300,000 Worth of Bitcoin Demanded by Kidnappers of Belgian Teenager

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  • Alex Dovbnya
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    Kidnappers demand $300,000 for the release of Theo Hayez, a missing Belgian teenager

$300,000 Worth of Bitcoin Demanded by Kidnappers of Belgian Teenager
Cover image via www.123rf.com

The kidnappers of Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez demand a cool $300,000 worth of Bitcoin for the release of the missing teenager, The Australian reports. 

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The 18-year-old disappeared off the radar during his trip to Byron Bay, Australia, on May 31.

Bitcoin Ransom
image by 7news.com.au

The text messages of alleged kidnappers, which were received by the teenager's godfather Jean-Philippe Pector, claim that Hayez is still safe, but he was moved out of the Byron Bay area to Gold Coast due to an ongoing search. 

The text messages
image by dailymail.co.uk 

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After dealing with the initial shock, the distressed family member adopted a skeptical approach to these demands.      

“You start wondering ‘Is it true, is it not true?’ My first reaction was to immediately contact the police. Their response was ‘Don’t contact them, we will investigate that’.” 

The police found out that the heart-wrenching message was sent by someone from South Africa. Thus, Jean-Philippe Pector was likely to deal with opportunistic scammers instead of actual kidnappers.    

Whether this ransom is legitimate or not, such black swan events are not unusual in the crypto space. Back in October, a group of hackers attacked Johannesburg, South Africa's biggest city, and demanded 4 BTC for not publishing stolen data.    

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About the author

Alex Dovbnya (aka AlexMorris) is a cryptocurrency expert, trader and journalist with an extensive experience of covering everything related to the burgeoning industry — from price analysis to Blockchain disruption. Alex authored more than 1,000 stories for U.Today, CryptoComes and other fintech media outlets. He’s particularly interested in regulatory trends around the globe that are shaping the future of digital assets.

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