Uphold to launch crypto cards in Europe with new acquisition

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Uphold, an American digital wallet and trading platform, has acquired European card issuer Optimus Cards UK Limited to launch a cryptocurrency-enabled card on the continent.

According to a Feb. 2 announcement, Uphold is planning to roll out its crypto-powered debit card in Europe starting in April 2021. Uphold CEO JP Thieriot said that the launch in Europe follows a successful roll out in the United States:

“From April, we plan to start rolling out the world’s first, multi-asset, crypto-enabled debit card on the Optimus platform in Europe. The card has already proved a hit with our U.S. customers offering a unique combination of utility, convenience and crypto-back rewards.”

“Very soon our European customers will be able to receive part or all of their salary in Bitcoin — or any asset of their choice — and spend it using Uphold Cards issued through Optimus,” Thieriot said.

The new card will include some of the assets supported by Uphold’s platform — including cryptos, precious metals, U.S. equities, and carbon credits.

Optimus is one of the biggest debit and credit card issuers across the United Kingdom and Europe. The firm is regulated by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority as an Electronic Money Institution and acts as a primary card issuer and payments facilitator. Optimus’ services are compatible with major platforms like Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as contactless and virtual cards.

Uphold did not disclose the cost of the acquisition in the announcement. The company did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

As previously reported, Uphold announced its multi-asset debit card in the U.S. in March 2020, supporting 24 crypto assets like Bitcoin (BTC), 27 fiat currencies, and four precious metals.

In July 2020, Binance — the world’s largest crypto exchange — debuted its crypto card in Europe after acquiring Swipe wallet.

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