Visa and BlockFi team up to offer customers Bitcoin rewards instead of airmiles

A new credit card will be available in early 2021 and will also replace cash rewards with the world's most valuable crypto asset

FILE PHOTO: A representation of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
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Payments giant Visa is partnering with cryptocurrency start-up BlockFi to offer a credit card that rewards purchases with Bitcoin rather than airline miles or cash.

Users of the Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card will receive 1.5 per cent of their purchases back in the world’s most valuable digital asset, and a lump sum of $250 in the crypto asset if they spend more than $3,000 in the first three months, BlockFi said in a statement. The card, which comes with a $200 annual fee, will be issued by Evolve Bank & Trust.

Mainstream adoption of Bitcoin received a boost from Visa earlier this year, when the credit card giant joined start-up Fold to offer a debit card that earns rewards denominated in the cryptocurrency.

Visa’s approach to crypto has been evolving. Just two years ago, it was in a public fight with the Coinbase exchange over issues related to purchases made using its cards. Then, in February, Coinbase and Visa announced the Coinbase Card, which allows users to spend Bitcoin using the Visa debit card.

“We’re excited to add credit cards to our suite of products and expand Bitcoin’s accessibility to a broader set of consumers,” Zac Prince, chief executive and founder at BlockFi, said in the statement. The company hopes to make the card available in early 2021.

Bitcoin has rallied more than 160 per cent this year, sparking debate over whether the run-up shows it’s becoming a store of value or is in a bubble.