In an IRC chat, BitInstant co-founder Charlie Shrem revealed that a Bitcoin-funded debit/credit card is coming within 6-8 weeks. The card will be issued by two unnamed major banks; one international and one US-based. Anonymous use will be impossible though as users have to adhere to local laws and regulations, including proof of identification.
Coding in My Sleep notes the card will function like a regular debit or credit account and should be accepted wherever MasterCard is accepted – virtually everywhere. The first 1,000 cards will be given away for free but after those have been spoken for, expect to pay around $10 for a card.
Shrem says that each card will have a QR code on the front that can be scanned to complete transactions under $1,000 and a printed address on the back bearing the user’s Bitcoin Address. Expect to pay a 1 percent fee to fund the card and a $1.50 ATM withdrawal fee.
The value of a Bitcoin has fluctuated widely since the currency came into existence on January 3, 2009. An influx of users following wide media coverage in the first half of 2011 pushed the value of a Bitcoin from under $1 to over $30, but after reports about thefts and hackings the value imploded to around $2. At present a Bitcoin is worth roughly $9.87