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The gift card industry in the US alone reached $149 billion in total sales last year. With estimates of continued growth year over year, there may be opportunities for innovation and further expansion into new markets.
Cryptocurrency is a new area in fintech that has experienced rapid growth over the last few years. One of the barriers of cryptocurrency adoption is the easy of obtaining it. The main ways to obtain cryptocurrency such as bitcoin are purchasing it via an exchange, arranging a sale with an independent party, mining, or receiving payments in bitcoin. For storage and using bitcoin, the options are exchange accounts, desktop, mobile, and hardware wallets. Can something as fundamental as gift cards help first-time bitcoin buyers get their feet wet in the Bitcoin ownership?
A startup called KaiUSB, is a new player behind the idea of crypto gift cards. They offer a USB software-hardware type of wallet with either Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH), which the user can choose at the time of purchase. The crypto gift cards are appear to be a USB flash drive with proprietary software on it that accepts an activation code and sets up the necessary software wallet, then allowing customers to spend their balance as with any gift card.
This new concept may simplify cryptocurrency purchases, and may be a popular alternative to the other two main ways to acquire bitcoin (the other two being from an exchange or arranging purchases on sites like LocalBitcoins.com).
Another bonus: crypto gift cards are more secure than traditional gift cards in that when a payment is made, the user does not need to worry about a credit card number being intercepted or stolen and loosing the gift card balance. Sending a crypto payment never reveals the private key or password at any time during a purchase, thus as long as these bits of data are safe, the funds remain safe. Further, crypto gift cards do not have any maintenance fees or inactivity fees as some traditional gift cards have.
Will you soon start to see crypto gift cards near the VISA gift cards at your local supermarket? This is certainly possible, as KaiUSB aims to partner with physical retailers by the end of 2018 to make that a reality.
For more information about the KaiUSB crypto sticks, visit kaiusb.com