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Binance Debit Card Review: Is This The Ultimate Crypto Card?

The world’s biggest crypto exchange has created a slick, stealthy card that aims make crypto more usable in everyday life.

Republished by Plato

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In brief

  • The Binance Card is a Visa debit card enabling users to draw on their Binance crypto holdings.
  • It converts crypto into fiat at the point of sale.
  • Binance Card supports payment using Bitcoin, Binance Coin, Ethereum, SXP and BUSD.

In the last year, crypto debit cards have taken off in a big way, with numerous exchanges launching cards that variously let you pay with crypto, or offer crypto rewards.

Now Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has joined the fray. But is its new Binance Card the gateway to crypto that it promises to be? We put it through its paces.

What is the Binance Card?

The Binance Card is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a crypto debit card launched by Binance. Announced last March following the exchange’s acquisition of crypto debit card company Swipe, the Binance Card was released in select European countries in September 2020.

The card supports payments with Bitcoin (BTC), Binance Coin (BNB), Ethereum (ETH), Swipe’s SXP token, and its own stablecoin, Binance USD (BUSD).

Crypto holdings are converted to fiat currency in real-time at the time of transaction; you also have the option of topping up your Binance fiat wallet with your default fiat currency and drawing on that.

As a Visa debit card, the Binance Card can be used at over 60 million merchants across 200 regions and territories around the world.

When announced, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, more commonly known as CZ, stated that “Giving users the ability to convert and spend their crypto directly with merchants around the world, will make the crypto experience more seamless and applicable.”

That all sounds like it makes sense, right? A fancy card from a top exchange, spreading crypto to the masses in an easily accessible way — what’s not to love?

We spent some time diving into the Binance Card to see what the process is like, and what it brings to the table. Read on for our full review…

How easy is it to apply for?

Applying for the Binance Card begins by ordering one online directly from Binance. At the time of writing, the Binance card is currently supported in selected European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Malta, Slovenia, and more (the full list can be found here). Crypto fans in the UK who were originally on the list of supported countries can pre-order, but are currently absent from the official list, presumably due to the rather messy business of Brexit. We’ve reached out to Binance for confirmation and will update this article accordingly.

If you don’t already have a Binance account you’ll have to create one first, which is as straightforward as providing your email address and personal details. It is, however, worth pointing out that you can only apply for a Binance card if your account is KYC level 2 verified.

Short for Know Your Customer/Client, KYC is a procedure used in financial services to help verify the identity of individuals. In other words, it helps prove to Binance that you are who you say you are.

To achieve KYC level 2 on Binance, you’ll need to upload a form of valid ID, such as a passport or driver’s license, along with proof of address verification, such as a utility bill. This might seem scary to crypto beginners, but rest assured it’s totally normal practice, especially on an exchange that’s as respected as Binance.

Uploading these documents can be done by hovering over your profile button in the top right corner, and selecting ‘Identification’. Once that’s done, you’ll want to ensure that you take a clear picture of your chosen ID, as well as a passport-like photo of yourself. You also need to ensure that the address on your utility bill or other document matches the address you type into the online form. While the length of time it takes to verify both your ID and address varies, we were pleasantly surprised that both fields were verified in less than an hour.

Once you’ve reached KYC level 2, you can order your card here, by clicking on, you guessed it, Order Card. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete your order, and if successful, you’ll be issued with a virtual card immediately, while your physical card will arrive at a later date. At the time of writing, it’s unclear how long you’ll have to wait to receive the physical card due to high demand.

When you do receive your card, head on over to the Card Wallet section on Binance and hit the Activate button. From here you’ll need to enter the CVV number on the back of the physical card, and your four-digit pin code will then be shown. If you don’t activate your card within 45 days after ordering, it will automatically deactivate.

Design

The Binance Card’s design is muted, but tasteful. Image: Binance

As much as we’d love to say that the Binance Card is crafted from exotic materials like titanium or meteorite, we’re dealing with the same sort of card you’ve used all your life, albeit one with flat (as opposed to embossed) characters, presumably for longevity.

There’s currently no option to customize the card or stamp any of your own personality on it, which is bad news for meme lovers. For everyone else though, there’s little to complain about. The all-black and silver monochrome color palette has an air of sophistication about it, with nothing but some text and the ultra-minimal Binance logo to draw the eye. If Darth Vader had a debit card, it would look fairly close to this.

Setting up the Binance Card

Once you’ve got your virtual and/or physical card set up and ready to go, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with how the card actually works. The most important thing you’ll need to understand is that the card doesn’t automatically pull in funds from your Binance crypto holdings balance.

To use the card, you’ll first have to transfer money from your Spot Wallet (the default Binance wallet which stores your holdings and allows you to deposit and withdraw funds), to your separate Card Wallet. You can choose to transfer fiat and other supported crypto over to your Card Wallet, and select the order in which funds should be debited first. If you’ve listed Euros and BNB as the top two funds, for example, the card will debit your Euro balance, before moving on to BNB once the Euros are used up.

The Card Wallet is best thought of as a supplementary place for your holdings to live. Shifting funds over might seem like an unnecessary step for some, but it provides the option to limit how much is on the card, in the event that it’s lost or stolen. The ability to prioritize which holdings are spent first is also a nice touch.

Binance Card Wallet. Image: Binance

Once you’ve put your Card Wallet in order, you can spend it anywhere online or in-person that accepts Visa. Just make sure you’ve taken the time to top up the Card Wallet with funds from your main Binance wallet, otherwise your payment will be declined, and you’ll find yourself explaining your mishap to a very confused grocery store cashier. To save yourself the headache, you have the handy option to enable auto top-up, setting a minimal balance that’s automatically topped up without you having to worry about it.

It’s also worth noting that Google Pay and Samsung Pay users can set up their card by entering their card details in their choice of app, letting them make contactless NFC payments with Binance funds up to set limits.

Perks and fees

One of the main draws of the Binance Card is its cashback system, which rewards your account with up to 8% cashback on eligible purchases. The cashback is in BNB, and the amount rewarded depends on how much BNB you’re currently holding on Binance. The breakdown of cashback rewards can be seen below:

Binance cashback rewards table. Image: Binance

You can see your cashback transactions in the cashback vault, all of which will be one of three statuses; Pending, which means they’re calculated but not yet in your wallet, Completed which means they’ve already been sent to your Spot Wallet, and Declined, which means the transaction was not eligible for cashback.

The cashback itself is awarded on a monthly basis, while some competitors offer weekly rewards. It’s also worth pointing out that the cashback percentage is based on your average holdings of BNB over the past month. This is disappointing, as it essentially means you have to wait and hold BNB for a whole month to unlock higher reward rates. On a more positive note, beyond the initial $15 issuance fee for the card itself, there are zero fees for monthly or annual card maintenance, which is a welcome bonus.

In terms of card limits, the virtual card currently has a daily spending limit of EUR 870, with a much higher limit of EUR 8,700 for the physical card. The daily ATM limit is capped at EUR 290. Additional fees for reissuing the physical card and for transaction fees, are shown below:

Binance fees table. Image: Binance

Is Binance Card worth using?

To reach the full 8% cashback reward on your purchases, you’ll need to have a minimum of 6,000 BNB in your Binance Wallet. At the time of writing, that’s just under $250,000 worth of BNB. Card level two, which unlocks 2% cashback, requires a more manageable stake of 10 BNB, or around $420.

These aren’t exactly friendly amounts for beginners dipping their toes into the crypto world for the very first time, but at least there’s still a 1% minimum cashback offer for people to benefit from using the card without forking out hundreds of dollars on BNB.

What is disappointing is the fact that the cashback rewards are tied only to BNB, which means someone with thousands of dollars worth of BTC, for example, won’t see any rewards.

If you’re heavily invested and committed to BNB, then the rewards appear to be worth it. It sounds niche, but so is the very concept of a crypto debit card tied to an exchange.

Verdict

There’s a simple case to be made for the fact that the Binance Card doesn’t really need to exist. We don’t mean that in a harsh way. It is, after all, a slick card that integrates with the world’s biggest crypto exchange, and lets you use your holdings online and in the real world, making the blockchain more tangible and useful in everyday life.

The trouble is, you’re not ultimately paying for things with crypto. Your holdings are converted to fiat, so as far as the merchant is concerned, you’re just another normal user paying with ‘proper money’. This sort of goes against the whole ethos of being a crypto enthusiast, don’t you think?

The dream, of course, is for crypto to be natively accepted by merchants and shops at a fundamental level, with no middleman converting messing up the purity of it. That’s an adoption problem that not even the gargantuan exchange Binance can solve, so this card should at least be applauded for aiming for a transitional middle ground while increasing awareness of what’s possible with crypto.

Still, we’d only really recommend it for hardcore BNB fans looking to fill out their bags with the cashback rewards. Having said that, there’s no harm in nabbing one for yourself, especially with the lack of monthly fees. After all, one of crypto’s biggest draws is trying new things and pushing horizons. Perhaps cards like this are an important step to true mass adoption.

Rating: 4/5

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Grayscale eyes alts such as Cardano, Aave, Chainlink for new investment products

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Over the last few months, Grayscale Investments has become one of the most important participants in the cryptocurrency market. Now, in light of the growing competition in the field and the success of its existing products, the asset manager is eyeing new ones to bring to its clients.

To keep up with the expanding market, Grayscale Investments has announced that it is looking into at least 23 different digital assets for “potential new product offerings.” According to the same, the firm is looking at altcoins such as AAVE, BAT, Cardano [BAT], Chainlink [LINK], EOS, Cosmos [ATOM], MakerDAO [MKR], Polkadot [DOT], Tezos [XTZ], Synthetix [SNX], and Yearn.Finance [YFI], among others.

Here, it’s worth noting that the present development came a month after it was reported that Grayscale had filed to register new trusts for a set of digital assets (Including Cardano, Aave, and Polkadot) in the state of Delaware, USA.

The timing of the said announcement is interesting, especially since Grayscale’s consideration of new altcoins corresponds to the market-wide price rally coming to a halt. Bitcoin’s value fell under the $50k-level recently, with BTC trading at around $47,000, at press time.

Similarly, the market’s correlated alts were also witnessing a similar drawdown in value. And yet, much of the altcoin market has been showing strength, despite some sell-offs, due to which Grayscale has taken the step to consider turning some of the aforementioned assets into one of its investment products.

According to CEO Michael Sonnenshein,

“…as a firm that has been on the vanguard of connecting the legacy financial system with the new, digital currency-driven financial system, we view it as our responsibility to introduce investors to more diversity in this space.”

Meanwhile, with the value of BTC dropping in the spot market, the Grayscale BTC fund is seeing sell-offs too since many investors have chosen the way out. According to data, Grayscale Bitcoin trust dropped by 21% this week, a figure much higher than BTC’s 16% drop in the market. For GBTC, the once-massive premium has also fallen, suggesting that investors are choosing to exit the market since it has come to a halt. At the time of writing, the firm held over 655,750 BTC equivalent to $31 billion.

Such a shift in strategy can help Grayscale expand its hold on the altcoin market.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/grayscale-eyes-alts-such-as-cardano-aave-chainlink-for-new-investment-products

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Crypto can be lucrative, but make sure you’re ready for the taxman

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Hindsight is 20/20, but when money is on the line, being prepared can give investors better foresight. Just over a year and a half ago, Investopedia reported on the panic among many crypto investors who’d found themselves on the wrong side of the taxman. The article read, “Online forums like Reddit are abuzz with posts citing possible scenarios by worried investors about pending tax liabilities for their past dealings in cryptocoins, which may now leave them poorer.”

As Bitcoin’s (BTC) price soars and investors flock to crypto to cash in, legislators and regulators around the world are taking notice. Most recently, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development announced a plan to release a ubiquitous tax standard for its member states, partly intended to curb base erosion and profit shifting. Although announcements like these serve as positive signs of intergovernmental collaboration, economic unity and progress, to the average investor, they feel rather distant. Yet it is crucial for investors in the United States to understand the digital asset tax regulations because, in some cases, it may mean the difference between prosperity and five years in prison with fines up to $250,000.

Related: Parents, it’s time for ‘the talk’: Did your kid trade crypto in 2020?

A handful of libertarian, crypto torchbearers might be inclined to believe that the built-in anonymity privileges of blockchain may save them from government scrutiny, but after all, the Internal Revenue Service isn’t quick to let go of these matters.

The U.S. tax code and crypto

Digital currencies and tokenized assets tend to be a mixed bag under the U.S. tax code. Many investors think of Bitcoin as a digital currency, like fiat currencies used regularly by consumers to buy goods. However, under the U.S. tax code, Bitcoin is actually considered “property” and is taxed under capital gains tax when either sold or used to purchase items or transferred for other digital currencies, such as trading Bitcoin for Ether (ETH). For example, purchasing a house with Bitcoin in the U.S. would trigger a taxable event on capital gains, and the exchange of Bitcoin for any other type of asset is considered a sale in the same way you might sell security like a stock.

Related: Crypto taxes, reporting and tax audits in 2021

It’s difficult to pinpoint why Bitcoin is classified differently from fiat currencies, but precedent in how Bitcoin is utilized by investors may tell us the answer. The IRS likely recognizes Bitcoin as a property asset because the popular crypto asset serves most users as an investment utility and not as a functional currency in the same way the fiat U.S. dollar does. More importantly, because these types of assets are not issued by a central bank, the U.S. government will not recognize them as such until further notice. Understanding crypto taxation also means digging into the little details.

Unlike centralized financial systems, decentralized systems require investors to take a far more active role in diligently tracking their investments from the moment of purchase to sale or exchange for commodities.

At the most basic level, the onus falls more on the investor to track the purchase date, purchase price and what was received in exchange for the Bitcoin in the case of a sale. In contrast, investment history in traditional, non-digital assets, such as stocks or commodities, is fairly easy to track because of the diligent records that brokerages maintain for clients and how readily accessible they are.

Crypto investments and taxation

Basics aside, there is one area in particular in which many accredited investors miss the mark.

Crypto hedge funds are reputed for offering lucrative crypto opportunities. While some crypto hedge funds are considered risky due to questions about crypto-market liquidity, they can be the better route to invest instead of buying individual units of Bitcoin. And as of late, they have proven themselves increasingly popular over the last year. According to Big Four audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, assets under management with crypto hedge funds rose from $1 billion in value in 2018 to over $2 billion in value in 2019. Despite piquing the interest of investors, buyers beware.

Compared to traditional assets, when onboarding investors for crypto assets, it’s a whole different ball game. Unlike traditional assets, it’s imperative that digital asset hedge funds ask deeper questions about tax considerations. Some questions regarding crypto investments should include: What kind of property is cryptocurrency x? or Can staking assets on proof-of-stake networks, which offer rewards for staking, be classified as unique income? These are just the basics, but questions like these can easily slip the mind when in the moment and can trigger unintended tax events.

On the other hand, when joining a hedge fund, it’s standard procedure to sign a standard legal entity fund structure, which is often as lengthy as 500 pages. Included are taxation clauses in the contract that explain the implications of investing with the fund. But with hundreds of pages of details, investors may not pay close attention to the little details, inadvertently putting them at serious risk of conflict with the IRS at a later juncture. That’s where a tax advisor should come in, who is accustomed to a more passive role.

Because of crypto’s unique properties, the tax advisor’s role has to become more active rather than passive, as it usually is. Rather than take a backseat, tax advisors should be summoned to provide consultation on investments before they’re undertaken and play a proactive role in educating investors every step of the way. As a result, investors would find themselves better prepared to provide a comprehensive and abiding tax return, rather than find themselves on the short end of the stick, playing catch up with the IRS.

When the taxman comes knocking, it’s better to be safe than sorry and know the regulations; otherwise, the consequences could be much graver. More importantly, the tax advisor must be in the passenger seat, not the back seat, when investors sign on the dotted line.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Derek Boirun is an entrepreneur with institutional experience in commercial real estate development, EB-5 capital investments and blockchain-based investing. Derek is the founder, CEO and director of Realio. He previously founded, and currently acts as a managing member of, the American Economic Growth Fund, an EB-5 investment platform focused on sourcing overseas capital for U.S.-based real estate projects.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/crypto-can-be-lucrative-but-make-sure-you-re-ready-for-the-taxman

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Bitcoin’s market may have seen its strongest bull signal since fall below $50k

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At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s price was yet to fully recover from the massive depreciation that followed its ATH of $58,640. However, while BTC was valued at just under $48,000 at the time, it is worth noting that there have been significant Coinbase outflows since 25 February and these outflows seemed to be signaling an upcoming trend reversal.

Significant Coinbase outflows were observed when Bitcoin’s price was trading around $48,000 on the exchange. What does this entail? Well, this is evidence that U.S investors are still buying Bitcoin. Interestingly, the last time Coinbase outflows increased significantly, they were a precursor to Bitcoin’s price hitting its previous ATH above $52,000.

US investors are still buying Bitcoin, what about you?

Source: CryptoQuant

In the current macro environment, there are several factors that have led to a drop in Bitcoin’s price. The hike in inflows of Bitcoin to spot exchanges led to increased selling pressure and the dip, one that was triggered by miners. When GBTC’s premium dropped to register a negative figure, institutional demand was low, relatively lower than what it has been all along in the current market cycle.

Finally, 10-year U.S Treasury yields surged past 1.6% and this was alarming for risky asset classes, with Bitcoin still considered by many as one of the riskiest asset classes.

US investors are still buying Bitcoin, what about you?

Source: Woobull Charts

On the 25th of February, 13,000 BTC flowed out from Coinbase, with the BTC hitting multiple custody wallets on Coinbase and private wallets. This supports the notion that U.S institutional investors are still buying Bitcoin at the $48,000-price level. This is also one of the strongest bull signals since the dip from the ATH of $58,640.

In the short-term, institutional buying is expected to take the price above $48,000 on top exchanges, with the price of the crypto-asset likely to eventually cross $50,000.

However, it must be pointed out that there may be slow price movement in the short-term. Further, an interesting social metric that seemed to support the aforementioned conclusion was new Twitter followers of crypto-exchanges. Based on data from IntoTheBlock, the number is at par with what it was in 2017.

US investors are still buying Bitcoin, what about you?

Source: Twitter

Social metrics have often predicted changes in volatility and the price trends of Bitcoin and altcoins during previous legs of the current market cycle and previous bull runs as well. In light of the fact that U.S investors are still buying and more specifically, institutional investors are still buying, buying from both retail and institutional investors and demand is expected to push Bitcoin’s price above $50,000 in the short-term.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoins-market-may-have-seen-its-strongest-bull-signal-since-fall-below-50k

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