05 Jan 2018
It’s feared thousands of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency users have been left stranded after payment network firm Visa decided to terminate its relationship with cryptocurrency card issuer WaveCrest.
Crypto firms on Friday were notifying customers that their cards were no longer valid with immediate effect.
WaveCrest client Bitwala said in a statement on its website :
“Yesterday our Bitwala Card issuer WaveCrest Holdings Ltd received direction from Visa Europe to immediately suspend all Bitwala cards effective immediately. Unfortunately, neither Visa nor WaveCrest were able to provide us or you with more time to prepare for this announcement.”
“Your Bitwala card is now deactivated and you will not be able to use it for further payments or withdrawals. This affects both physical and virtual cards.”
Another firm Cryptopay said in a tweet on Friday: “Unfortunately, our card issuer instructed us to cease all Cryptopay prepaid cards starting January 5th, 2018.
Dmitry Lazarichev, the co-founder of Wirex, which is believed to have issued around 500,000 cryptocurrency cards, reportedly said all cards were shut in a second.
Efforts to obtain a comment Gibralter-based WaveCrest were unsuccessful.
However, a Visa spokesman responded later, saying:
“We can confirm that WaveCrest’s Visa membership is being terminated due to non-compliance with our operating rules. All WaveCrest-issued Visa card programmes will be closed as a result.
“The termination of WaveCrest’s Visa membership does not affect other Visa issuers’ card programmes, including those using fiat funds converted from cryptocurrency.”
Earlier, WaveCrest reportedly said in a statement: “As a licensed E-Money Institution, WaveCrest is required to safeguard funds to cover all of its issued electronic money and we can confirm that these funds are safe and available for redemption through other channels.”
Meanwhile crypto firms were trying to reassure customers their ‘money’ was safe in the sudden chaos.
Bitwala said it had “been assured that all affected users will get a refund for their card balance and any outstanding card top ups directly into their bank account.”
Crytopay said: “Please contact our support team through the live-chat to clarify the status of your refund. Just remember that they are swamped and it may take a couple of hours for them to answer you.”
However, in response to Cryptopay, a seemingly worried João Paulo Gomes tweeted: “I want to receive my BITCOIN Its unacceptable that you are blocking All Bitcoin Withdrawals I need my money and there’s no problem with Bitcoin All the other card companies are allowing Bitcoin Withdrawals Why are you blocking my Bitcoin?”
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