Steps being taken to address non-compliance with existing rules, rather than the introduction of new regulations, are the reason a number of Bitcoin card issuers are having to withdraw availability of their services from non-European customers, Visa has told NFC World.
“Cryptocurrency is an innovative technology, but the regulatory landscape around the world is not yet fully developed,” Visa explained to NFC World. “We are monitoring developments closely to ensure that all Visa-branded programs are operating in compliance with Visa’s rules and applicable law.
“Visa has approved a small number of card programs that enable consumers to convert cryptocurrency to fiat currency, and to deposit those legal fiat funds into an account linked to a Visa debit or prepaid card.
“Visa is in no way involved in the conversion of cryptocurrency to fiat currency. This aspect of the program is performed by the issuer or its program manager through a cryptocurrency exchange.
“At no point does non-fiat currency flow through Visa network. Like any other Visa debit or prepaid card, these programs are managed by our issuer partners and must comply with all Visa rules and applicable laws.”
Xapo, Shakepay, BTCC and Bitwala have all been affected by Visa’s move. Xapo explained on its blog on August 22, for instance, that “only customers in the European territory will be able to order new Xapo debit cards, effective today.
“In addition, Xapo must suspend service on all existing debit cards for users who live outside of the European territory by October 15th 2017.”