Ledger Rolls Out ‘Crypto Life’ Debit Card Across UK and Europe

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Cryp­to wal­let mak­er Ledger is rolling out its cryp­to deb­it card across the UK and Europe, as a string of scan­dals in the ecosys­tem spurs inter­est in self-cus­tody solutions.

Ledger’s Cryp­to Life (CL) card allows users to move cryp­to between Ledger hard­ware wal­lets and card accounts via com­pan­ion app Ledger Live.

While the card sup­ports the French firm’s cold cryp­to wal­lets — which pro­mote self-cus­tody — CL is devel­oped by Lon­don-based fin­tech Baanx, which states that “it’s not a bank” on its website.

Sim­i­lar to oth­er cryp­to cards already on offer, cus­tomers can earn 1% cryp­to rewards in bit­coin or USDT, or 2% in Baanx’s native token BXX, when funds are spent. Users can also receive pay­checks denom­i­nat­ed in bit­coin, ether or oth­er stablecoins.

Lithuan­ian bank­ing-as-a-ser­vice provider Con­tis Finan­cial han­dles cus­tody of all funds kept on the card. Baanx’s web­site states that Con­tis Finan­cial is autho­rized by the Lithuan­ian cen­tral bank, how­ev­er funds kept on Ledger’s cards will not be cov­ered by the country’s Finan­cial Ser­vices Com­pen­sa­tion Scheme or Deposit Insur­ance System.

“No oth­er com­pen­sa­tion scheme exists to cov­er loss­es claimed in con­nec­tion with the account and asso­ci­at­ed card,” Baanx says in an FAQ. “We will how­ev­er ensure that any funds received by you are held in a seg­re­gat­ed account so that should we become insol­vent your funds will be pro­tect­ed against claims made by our creditors.”

Like Mas­ter­card, Visa sup­ports cryp­to cards issued by sev­er­al com­pa­nies includ­ing Coin­base and Binance. Binance’s brand­ed card is sim­i­lar to Ledger’s — in fact it’s also man­aged by Con­tis — but the rewards are in BNB and held on the exchange. 

Ledger card pro­motes self-cus­tody, until it’s time to spend crypto

Ledger says it received over 400,000 wait­list signups for CL, after first announc­ing the pro­gram at the Ledger Op3n con­fer­ence in Dec. 2021. 

Cus­tomers can use their cards at some 90 mil­lion mer­chants and online stores accept­ing Mas­ter­card across the UK and Europe. “We now have an easy and secure solu­tion to pay with cryp­to that also allows you to self-cus­tody until you want to top up,” said JF Rochet, vice pres­i­dent of inter­na­tion­al devel­op­ment at Ledger.

Ledger part­ner Baanx no doubt hopes adop­tion of the prod­uct might boost the price of its BXX token. The start­up first sold BXX at $0.12 in an ini­tial coin offer­ing in 2019, with 56% of the sup­ply des­ig­nat­ed for the public.

BXX now trades for about $0.012 — 90% its ini­tial sale price and 97% below its $0.40 record last Octo­ber. The token boasts a mea­gre mar­ket val­ue of $430,000 after jump­ing about 25% Thurs­day morn­ing, a few hours ahead of the press release embargo.

Cryp­to-com­pat­i­ble cards were also pop­u­lar with ill-fat­ed lend­ing plat­forms Cel­sius, Voy­ager and Block­Fi, with those prod­ucts all direct­ly threat­ened by their respec­tive liq­uid­i­ty crises.

Ledger’s card dif­fers slight­ly in that Ledger users can direct­ly trans­fer cryp­to from cold stor­age for spend­ing and back again — rather than from cen­tral­ized enti­ty to card. The firm has claimed that 20% of all dig­i­tal assets are held on Ledger devices.

Sales for Ledger devices actu­al­ly spiked fol­low­ing Cel­sius’ col­lapse as cryp­to investors rethought who they trust with their assets. In an email to Block­works, a Ledger spokesper­son said: “We warn cus­tomers every time they top up that the funds are no longer self-cus­todied on their Ledger, so ide­al­ly they would top up what they need to use, when they need to use it.”

US-based Ledger users eager for a deb­it card will still have to wait a few months. A US roll­out was ear­li­er pegged for Q2 this year, how­ev­er a spokesper­son said it would arrive “in the com­ing months.” The US card will use Visa instead of Mastercard.

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