More people, over time, are learning about cryptocurrencies and are being persuaded they are efficient means for settling debts.
However, the average merchant still does not accept them. The reasons range from the unclear legal position of cryptocurrencies, their price volatility to a lack of clear understanding of how exactly they work.
This has, however, turned out to be an opportunity for some. Several financial service providers now issue a debit card to bridge consumers who want to spend cryptocurrencies and merchants who still trust only government-issued currencies.
The debit card is loaded using crypto but pays merchants in the fiat currencies they are comfortable accepting, such as the US dollar. The issuers of the crypto cards are basically exchanges that convert between crypto and fiat currencies like the US dollar.
The most used crypto debit cards list includes ClubSwan, Bitpay, and Crypto.com.
These cards are supported by mainstream payment processors, in particular Mastercard, Visa, and Unionpay. That creates the possibility of using crypto to shop in millions of stores around the world.
Demand for Crypto Debit Cards
The demand for crypto debit cards is growing, especially as more people want to avoid inflation in fiat currencies, even as merchants remain hesitant to accept cryptocurrencies and some regulators ban their use.
It is, however, not easy to find data on the number of crypto debit cards that have been shipped over time, as the companies that issue them don’t usually publish such information. It is, however, possible to get data about the searches done online, and that can suggest volumes.
Someone looking for a crypto debit card is likely to query Google. The search engine keeps this information and makes it available through several tools. One of such tools is Google Trends.
Focusing on the search phrases ‘crypto debit cards’ and ‘best crypto debit cards,’ I managed to glean interesting data from Google Trends. For this article, I decided to observe data going back five years.
According to Google Trends, the first searches for ‘crypto debit cards’ happened in December 2008. That is hard to explain because Bitcoin was only launched a year later.
The more meaningful searches for ‘crypto debit cards’ and ‘best crypto debit cards’ began in July 2016. The volume for the two search phrases has had a general upward trend.
If you look at the graph and compare it with the one for Bitcoin price in the same time frame, you will notice that they mirror each other. As the price of Bitcoin goes up, so does the search for crypto debit cards.
For example, when the Bitcoin price hit a new all-time high of $20,000 in December 2017, the number of searches for the phrase crypto debit cards also reached a new high. The search volume dipped the following year as the price of Bitcoin descended to below $4000.
Countries with top searches
The data for search phrases ‘crypto debit cards’ and ‘best crypto debit cards’ seem to tell different stories. According to Google Trends, the phrase ‘crypto debit cards’ is searched extensively in more regions than ‘best crypto debit cards.’ While 16 countries are listed for the former, only the United States and the United Kingdom register for the latter.
Of course, countries that don’t speak English are excluded from this data.
Based on the search volume data on Google Trends, the following are the top ten countries with the highest demand for crypto debit cards:
Top Countries offering Cryptocurrency Debit Cards
Other studies have shown that Nigerians are heavily involved with crypto even though the Central Bank of Nigeria has banned crypto.
In March 2021, Statista published a study indicating that “Nigerians were the most likely to say they used or owned cryptocurrency.” Three months later, UsefulTulips.org ranked the country top in Africa based on trading activities on peer-to-peer exchanges.
Nigeria scores 100 for the search phrase ‘crypto debit cards,’ the highest score possible on Google Trends. It, however, does not rank at all for ‘best crypto debit cards.’
2. United Arab Emirates
The UAE has a generally positive approach to cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The country has hosted several high-profile international conferences on digital currencies, blockchain, and decentralized ledger technology (DLT).
It has been reported that authorities are setting aside a special zone for digital asset companies at the Dubai World Trade Centre (WTC).
The UAE scores 64 on Google Trends for the phrase ‘crypto debit cards.’ It, too, does not register for ‘best crypto debit cards.’
Singapore is home to several international crypto brands. The list includes crypto debit card issuing companies crypto.com and Paycent. The city-state has in the past been named as the world’s top crypto country.
However, not all crypto businesses have found Singapore accommodating. In December 2021, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, shut down its operations on the island as the regulators’ requirements were too stringent.
Singapore scores 57 on Google Trends for ‘crypto debit card.’
Canada has generally embraced cryptocurrencies. Besides a relatively accommodative regulatory environment, the country is slowly incorporating crypto into its systems.
For example, in October 2021, North Vancouver became the first city in the world to use energy generated from Bitcoin mining to heat buildings.
The North American country scores 47 on the Google Trend for ‘crypto debit card.’
Canada is also home to Blockstream, founded by some of the most active Bitcoin core developers.
5. United States
The US is home to several major crypto debit card issuing companies. The list includes BlockFi, Uphold, BitPay, and Coinbase.
Besides ‘crypto debit cards,’ the country also registers for the search phrase ‘best crypto debit card on Google Trend. It scores 44 for ‘crypto debit card’ and 100 for ‘best crypto debit card.’
6. United Kingdom
The UK is home to many global crypto debit card brands, including ClubSwan, Cryptopay, Wirex, Revolut, Monolith, and Uquid.
It scores 33 on Google Trends for ‘crypto debit cards.’ It also registers for the search phrase ‘best crypto debit card’ and scores 48 for it. The UK is the only other country that ranks for the latter phrase.
It is the only European country in this top 10 list.
7. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is technically part of the People’s Republic of China. It is its special administrative region. However, its approach to crypto is different from that of mainland China.
While China banned crypto in totality in late 2021, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) published a discussion paper in January 2022 to guide its regulation on blockchain assets.
Hong Kong is the headquarter of several blockchain startups. The most known of these is Input Output ( IOHK), which built Cardano.
Hong Kong scores 33 for the phrase ‘crypto debit card.’
8. New Zealand
New Zealand has a fast-growing crypto community. Most crypto debit cards are shipped to the island. It also has local crypto exchanges such as Swyfxt, Easy Crypto NZ, and Independent Reserve.
New Zealand has a score of 30 on Google Trends for ‘crypto debit card.’
9. South Africa
South Africa has often been ranked behind Nigeria in terms of crypto trading activity. However, unlike Nigeria, the country’s regulators have shown an interest in regulating the space instead of banning the use of cryptocurrencies.
South Africa scores 29 for ‘crypto debit card’ on the Google Trend.
In many aspects, Australia is similar to New Zealand, its neighbor, including an active crypto community and a relatively accommodative regulatory environment.
Besides many international crypto debit cards shipped to the country, Australians can also apply for the native Coinjar debit card.
Australia scores 26 ‘crypto debit card’ on Google Trend.