Thousands of cryptocurrency fans have found that their pre-paid payments cards, which let them spend their digital money like regular money, have been locked. Apparently it's all due to Visa shutting down the cards, in a crackdown against the card issuer.
Earlier today several major cards, including BitPay, Cryptopay, and Bitwala announced that they've suspended their cards, meaning users can't use them to make purchases are withdraw from cash machines. The cards themselves let users pay with pounds, euros, as well as funds from both Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets.
A lot of those cards are handled by WaveCrest, a Gibraltar-based Visa provider, but WaveCrest has reportedly emailed cardholders informing them that Visa ordered it to close all pre-paid cards. Which is how we ended up in the current predicament. According to The Telegraph WavecCrest was also supposed to be involved with the DragonCard, a similar card launched by the London Block Exchange late last year. It's worth mentioning that Visa itself reached out to distance itself from the card, despite reports initially linking the two.
Visa said the cards were suspended due to Visa terminating WaveCrest's membership, apparently due to "continued non-compliance with out operating rules". Apparently other Visa cards that convert Bitcoin into regular currency won't be affected by the change.
All three companies with suspended cards have endeavoured to return currency stored on the cards to the account holders, though details of how they're going to do that haven't been revealed. BitPay also confirmed that it was in discussion with alternative issuers, and make sure it can still serve its customers. [The Telegraph]