In the past year or so, a new trend has emerged in the world of Bitcoin in the form of digital currency debit cards. Several companies are trying to make a name for themselves in this market, with the likes of Xapo and ANX being two of the major names. E-coin, a UK-based company, may have a leg up on their competitors though as their Bitcoin debit card is available right now for a very small fee.
E-coin: A Brief Introduction
E-coin is not the name of just another altcoin, as it is a UK-based company offering Bitcoin debit cards to their customers. As you would come to expect, the overall community is rather wary of this kind of products, yet there is a great interest and curiosity as well. But what is E-coin, and who is behind it?
On the website, you won’t find too much information about the E-coin team, but luckily for our readers, I managed to get a hold of one of their representatives called Pavel Matveev. While Pavel can’t go into too many specifics, he did tell me that E-coin is a company with a relatively small team right now, but that might change in the near future.
As mentioned before, E-coin offers a Bitcoin debit card – from the Visa brand – to their users, as the small fee of US$10 per card – that includes free worldwide shipping. Delivery of the card takes 2-3 business days for European residents and 1-2 weeks for other countries. There is an asterisk to be made here, however, as this Bitcoin debit card is not available to residents of the United States.
E-coin’s Bitcoin debit cards are issued by MyChoice in Gibraltar, which is a subsidiary of Wave Crest Holdings Ltd. in the United Kingdom. MyChoice specializes in offering personalized debit cards for businesses and individuals. Xapo, one of E-coin’s competitors in the Bitcoin debit card space, uses the same issuer for their debit cards.
Verification, Depositing and Funds Transfers
In regards to account verification, there isn’t much to say, in fact. All it takes is a valid email address and basic personal information to sign up, and once you requested your E-coin Bitcoin debit card, it will be sent to your home address. There is no request for any identification verification such as an ID scan or utility bill when requesting your E-coin card, making this about as anonymous as possible when it comes to Bitcoin debit cards.
Note from the author: If you want to increase the limits of your E-coin debit card, you will need to verify your identity by providing the necessary documentation.
Funding your E-coin Bitcoin debit card can be done through the E-coin website. A Bitcoin wallet address is generated automatically, or you simply generate a new one from your Account area. Users do have to keep in mind that – due to security reasons – it will take five network confirmations before your Bitcoin deposit is credited to your E-coin account.
E-coin users can also transfer funds from their account to another user, should they prefer to do so at any given time. Head on over to the “Transfer” section in your E-coin account, click on “Add Address”, enter the amount in Bitcoin you wish to transfer and hit the SUBMIT button. That’s all there is to it, and these transactions will also require five network confirmations before being credited to the other user’s balance.
Fees, Limits, and Security
A service such as this has to make money in some way and to consider the price of the Bitcoin debit card is relatively cheap, there has to be a different source of revenue. Sending Bitcoin to someone else through the E-coin platform is completely free of charge, but there is a fee of 2% when withdrawing your Bitcoin balance to your Bitcoin debit card.
As I mentioned before, requesting an E-coin card does not require any identity verification, but raising your card’s limits does. Unverified accounts can withdraw up to US$500 per day from any ATM with their debit card, and spend up to US$2,500 per month. Once you reach the US$2,500 limit, however, your card will become unusable until you either request a new one or verify your identity by providing an ID scan and proof of address.
On the topic of security, E-coin stores the vast majority of Bitcoin in cold storage while a fraction of the total amount is kept in an online wallet. The platform itself is protected with 256-bit encryption as well. But that is not all, as E-coin users also have the option of adding two-factor authentication to their account. Last but not least, E-coin uses multisignature technology for all of their Bitcoin wallets.
The Story So Far
E-coin conducted a round of beta testing, which turned out to be quite the success as the company has over 10,000 subscribed users across all five major continents. So far, the community feedback has been mostly positive, and valuable information has been collected by the E-coin team in order to make their Bitcoin debit card even better.
“There is a rather complex process taking place in the background when converting Bitcoin into fiat currency and loading it onto the card, but for the customer the transaction is instant.You can literally load your card while queueing at an ATM and withdraw cash straight away!” – Georgy Sokolov, co-Founder of E-coin told Bitcoinist.
Considering the fact that e-Coin’s Bitcoin debit card can be used both online [for services such as Netflix, Paypal, and Amazon to name a few] and offline at more than 30 million ATM’s and 25 million merchants worldwide, you can see why this product could prove to be invaluable in order to establish Bitcoin as a global currency.
“E-coin cards are accepted anywhere Visa logo is displayed, which allows customers to use their bitcoin literally anywhere in the world. It can also be used as a virtual card. The company provides 24/7 support for customers all over the world. Despite the number of users growing dramatically, we have managed to decrease average response time to queries sent to firstname.lastname@example.org to 20 minutes”, Georgy Sokolov stated.
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