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Shift Payments trials debit card based on Bitcoin, Ripple

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Shift Payments trials debit card based on Bitcoin, Ripple

Shift Payments, a start-up backed by Y Combinator and Hard Yaka is trialing a debit card based on a group of alternate currencies including Bitcoin and Ripple. The smallish test of 100 cards or so is centered in the Bay area, but has big ambitions to transform the already transforming payments landscape.

The idea of having a payments device which can tap a portfolio of virtual or real (flat) currencies is one that should make payments executives pause for thought. Expanding on the basic idea, what if this payment device could shift (yes, an intentional play on words) among flat currencies, digital currencies, mobile minutes and loyalty currencies to offer consumers the highest utility of the value they now carry in separate wallets.

Ripple is an open source payment protocol that is being used as the backend payment solution for this debit card test. Ripple Labs was formerly known as OpenCoin.

The core value proposition of managing multiple virtual currencies on this Shift debit card could be enhanced by tapping into the vast store of unused loyalty points and miles held by consumers. At the tail end of the TechCrunch article written by Sarah Perez, one of the Shift founders, Meg Nakamura shared “there’s perhaps even more potential in making a payments card that lets you spend loyalty points ….. Bitcoin’s market cap today is only $8 billion. We’re talking about 6 times larger per year in just the loyalty points alone. We think it’s a big opportunity.”

We do too.

 

 

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