As cryptocurrency has quickly grown in popularity, there has been a tremendous push to try to bring together traditional finance and cryptocurrency. One manifestation of this has been the crypto credit card. You use it like a credit or debit card, but you pay in cryptocurrency. But the recent accounting scandal at crypto card provider Wirecard has brought into question just how safe it is to trust this type of service.
What Happened at Wirecard?
Wirecard, which issued cryptocurrency payment cards to TenX and Crypto.com is beginning insolvency proceedings. This news comes after the company admitted that it could not account for around $2.1 billion. In addition to the missing funds, the company admitted employees possibly inflated the company’s revenue to fool auditors. The former German blue-chip company saw its CEO Markus Braun arrested on suspicion of accounting fraud and market manipulation.
Problems with Crypto Credit Cards
Even without the scandal at Wirecard, there are still concerns to be taking seriously with crypto credit cards. First of all, cryptocurrency was conceived as an alternative to the legacy financial system. One of the primary design principles of Bitcoin is that it is decentralized.
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Crypto credit cards are heavily centralized by their very nature. The credit card will require you to create a wallet with their particular service. When you use the card, your payments are being processed through one company. That is a lot of layers of trust that must be developed before you feel secure with this solution as a payment method. Those are two middlemen already—an online wallet service and a payment processor. If you believe in cryptocurrency and its principles, why would you stack layers of middlemen on top?
If there’s one thing you can trust about payment processors, it’s that there will always be a lot of fees. They may largely be hidden from the consumer in many cases, but this is not so for the merchant. Visa’s fees have gotten so exorbitant that many vendors have balked at accepting it. One of the negative aspects of having a middleman is the fees that result. This is one reason why cryptocurrency was designed—to eliminate unnecessary intermediaries who provide no value.
The situation at Wirecard is a reminder that not all companies can be trusted. You should consider who stands between you and the merchants you do business with. Any endeavor where money is involved will attract people with unsavory aims and malicious intent. There are dishonest companies, just as there are dishonest stocks and dishonest cryptocurrencies. The point is that we should consider the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency and take it seriously by not adding needless intermediaries to our transaction processes.
An Alternative to Crypto Credit Cards
The beauty of cryptocurrency is its simplicity. It removes unnecessary parts of the process. There are only a buyer and a seller. There is no need for a bank, financial institution or even a regulator. In this model, wallets are the future banks. And the credit card of the future is the Census Note. There is nothing that the legacy financial system has taken over a hundred years to build that cannot be replicated in this model. The entirety of the financial system can be reconstituted to be fairer, more secure and more centered around the interest of the users, who thus become stakeholders.
Bitcoin offers a neutral system in contrast with the traditional financial system. Wallets and the Census Note are simply extensions of this proposition. Payment card network processors are proprietary systems that operate between you and merchants. The Census Note continues the open-source model provided by Bitcoin in an effort to liberate users from the handful of companies that control their transactions.
While much of the world are underbanked or unbanked, almost everyone in the world has a smartphone. This offers a great opportunity to reach those who are not being served by traditional finance. Online banking has not eliminated the problem, because online banking with traditional finance is still traditional finance. By providing an autonomous way for people and merchants to exchange assets, it would eliminate the need for banks for millions of people. This is what Bitcoin and the Census Note can do.
Thanks to its contactless features, the Census Note can mirror the user interface of a credit card. Merchants can offer liquidity by accessing liquidity providers on secure, decentralized systems. At Census, our goal is to offer a better payment and banking experience. And we are nimble enough to avoid the failures that have plagued traditional banks.
Wirecard is not the first company to collapse in the scandal. But it should give us pause to consider that the more layers of trust we force upon our cryptocurrency transactions, the more we weaken cryptocurrency’s trustless design. Cryptocurrency is designed to be the financial system of the future. With wallets as banks and the Census Note as the credit card of the future, millions of people can finally be free not only from unreliable financial systems but by the dangers of centralization.