Upgrade, a fintech company focused on providing credit for mainstream consumers, has announced its bitcoin rewards card launch. The new product is already available in the U.S. as a variation of the company's standard card, offering users an unlimited 1.5% BTC rewards on every purchase paid back.
"Upgrade Card is already delivering over $3 billion in annualized credit to consumers," said Renaud Laplanche, co-founder and CEO at Upgrade, in the announcement. "Starting today, anyone can apply for an Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card and enjoy the same affordable and responsible credit as with any Upgrade Card, plus the potential upside and fun of owning bitcoin."
Like the regular Upgrade Card, the company's bitcoin rewards card turns every balance into a fixed-rate installment plan. But by opting in for the new offering, customers can gain BTC as they pay down their balance.
Furthermore, the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card is also a Visa Signature card. It can be used anywhere Visa is accepted and includes the usual benefits such as trip and baggage insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty coverage.
In the backend, institutional bitcoin solutions provider NYDIG will be supplying Upgrade with bitcoin trading and custody solutions and enabling users to hold and sell funds.
However, cardholders are only allowed to sell earned bitcoin for dollars after 90 days, counted upon receipt of the reward. Additionally, the BTC selling transaction is subject to a 1.5% transaction fee.
Conveniences like bitcoin rewards can go a long way while the economy remains dollar-denominated and we wait for hyperbitcoinization. It is mostly a win-win situation as people can spend ever-depreciating dollars and earn a percentage back in ever-appreciating bitcoin.
But Upgrade didn't make it clear whether cardholders will be able to withdraw funds. If users are prevented from taking full ownership of their earned coins through self-custody, they would be trusting NYDIG with the security of their assets and being prevented from enjoying and enforcing Bitcoin's principles.