Gibralta based payment solutions company, Wavecrest, was shut down by Visa today — stranding thousands of people with Bitcoin credit cards now effectively worthless.

Source: CNBC

The card provider, WaveCrest, confirmed in an email to CNBC that it was required “to immediately close all Visa cards.”

“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,” the statement read.

Visa, a payment network, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wavecrest provided its services to a number of crypto-card companies, including Bitwala, Cryptopay, Wirex and TenX. These companies convert people’s cryptocurrencies into cash that is loaded on to a prepaid card, allowing people to use the currency for everyday transactions.

Now these cards are invalid.

Tenx is -19% and Cryptopay -18% on the news, a rather tepid response considering the news.

Apparently, Tenx is already working on a solution and have taken to Twitter to assuage users.

Monaco, another Bitcoin based debit card, reassured people they were not affected by the shut down.

People are understandably upset.

According to Wirex, the shut down by Visa was without warning, saying “all the cards were shut down in one second.” Dmitry Lazarichev, CEO of Wirex said Wavecrest was not responding to their concerns: “we asked for more information, but they haven’t provided any.”

Wirex has over 500,000 crypto currency cards around the world

In a statement by Visa, they said the reason for the shutdown had nothing to do with crypto currencies, but the fact that Wavecrest was not in compliance with regulations.

We can confirm that WaveCrest’s Visa membership is being terminated due to continued non-compliance with our operating rules. All of WaveCrest’s Visa card programmes will be closed as a result.

Visa has other approved card programmes that use fiat funds converted from cryptocurrency in a number of jurisdictions. The termination of WaveCrest’s Visa membership does not affect these other products.

Visa is committed to the security of its ecosystem and compliance with Visa’s operating rules is critical for ensuring the safety and integrity of the Visa payment system. Our issuers’ card programmes must comply with our membership regulations, as well as all applicable laws.

A representative from Bitwala isn’t buying it.

The change came very suddenly which gave us no time to properly notify our customers. Right now assuring them is our first priority. The decision also symbolises that Visa, and by proxy other traditional finance corporations, is not willing to service the growing crypto economy. This in turn motivates us to proceed further with our vision of building a crypto first bank which provides a bitcoin debit card with uninterrupted service.


This article was originally published by iBankCoin.

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