BitPay, a global bitcoin payment service provider headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, announced today that its BitPay Visa Prepaid Debit Card will be available for users in more than 131 new countries around the world.
The list of countries includes the United States, major bitcoin-using countries such as the UK, Germany, China, Japan, Argentina, and Brazil, and 125 other nations.
The BitPay card addresses the major problem for early bitcoin adopters: conversion of the cryptocurrency received, earned, or saved into a balance spendable with everyday Visa-accepting merchants.
Owners of BitPay Prepaid Debit cards can convert bitcoin into a spendable dollar, euro, or pound balance in just minutes. The card has recently integrated with BitPay’s true bitcoin wallet, which allows users to convert bitcoin funds to dollars, euros, or pounds on the card in one in-app swipe.
Earlier this month, BitPay announced the launch of new wallets with PIN and fingerprint screen locking feature. The options have been added to enhance security.
“If you ever share your mobile device with friends, family, coworkers, or kids, you might not want them poking around in your bitcoin wallet. The new optional fingerprint and PIN screen locks protect your wallet app from unwanted intrusion and give it additional privacy protection”, BitPay states.
PIN alone can’t provide full security for the bitcoin private keys so BitPay strongly recommends to create a multi-signature wallet in the BitPay app.
“You can share a multi-signature wallet with trusted friends or split the private keys required to move funds between 2 or 3 of your own devices. This makes it almost impossible for even the most determined attacker to gain access to your funds”, the bitcoin payment service provider says.
BitPay responds to multiple complaints of its customers about bitcoin transactions delay. The company explains that it is not responsible for the inconvenience as bitcoin transactions on the blockchain aren’t controlled or confirmed by BitPay, but by the bitcoin miners. Transactions are united in “blocks” that are later added to the blockchain. When a transaction has been added to a block six blocks ago, it’s considered a done deal.
Currently, the processing of bitcoin transactions has ground to a halt resulting in plenty of transactions waiting for inclusion within the blockchain. Last week, 214,000 bitcoin transactions were stuck unconfirmed while now the figure has decreased to about 153,000.
Traders can pay a higher fee to avoid waiting in line but these fees are now getting too high. The current suggested fee for a 250 bytes transaction is $1.82 worth of bitcoin, according to the bitcoin company 21.co. However, 250 bytes transactions are quite rare and most frequently transactions are around 400, requiring a fee of $3-$4.