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Coinbase Becomes First 'Pure' Crypto Firm Approved as Visa Principal Member

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange will have the power to issue payment cards thanks to its new status.

Feb 19, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 12:19 p.m. UTC

Coinbase, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange, has been made a Visa principal member.

Announcing the news on its blog Wednesday, the firm said the news marks it as the "first pure-play crypto company" to be approved by the credit card giant.

Coinbase has been working with Visa since 2019 when it launched its Coinbase Card in the UK. The debit card allows users to spend cryptocurrency as cash anywhere Visa is accepted. The card has since been made available in 29 markets with 10 cryptocurrencies supported.

Principal members of Visa are financial institutions authorized to issue some types of payment cards. In theory, Coinbase could issue cards to other crypto companies, though it's not clear if it plans to use that power immediately.

Discussing the Visa approval, Coinbase said that "membership will enable us to offer more features for Coinbase Card customers; from additional services to support in more markets — all elements that will help to evolve and enrich the cryptocurrency payment experience."

According to Forbes, the status was granted to Coinbase in December but has just been announced.

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