MCO crypto-VISA gateway card is great, but its app isn’t a crypto wallet

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Having had my MCO card for a month I think it’s about the time to write a review.

Weiwu with his MCO card (black) and his previous COINJAR card (white)

No matter how blockchain users like me prefer to swipe to pay crypto, the retail world moves at its own pace. Crypto-fiat gateway card is still a must-have item in my wallet.

Having been a magnetic-strip-only COINJAR card user for many years, it’s a pleasure to have a VISA card that has a chip in it with NFC and all. It comes with airport lounge access so I get to retire the credit card in my wallet as well, reducing the number of payment card I have to carry to … only one.

At the moment, the card is still a perk for those who live in Singapore, but this will soon change, according to crypto.com, the issuer of my card.

The card has a Bitcoin balance, which can be used to purchase SGD. It also has balances for various fiat currencies like USD and AUD, but the users don’t need to keep balance in those currencies, as they can only be bought using SGD (not using Bitcoin), which happens automatically anyway at the moment of purchase. Being able to connect to a Bitcoin-fiat market is a lot of work, so I am not surprised to see SGD, not Bitcoin, is used as a base currency. The forex rate is excellent, almost without any mark-up like bank cards typically impose.

But what I am surprised indeed is that if you have Bitcoin balance on the card, the mobile app, called Crypto.com Wallet, will show it, but you can’t send the Bitcoin.

What is the wallet that can’t send its balance? It turns out crypto.com folks has some misleading practice here.

It has always been clear that crypto.com is the custodian of your Bitcoin balance on your card. It treats the custodian Bitcoins like an exchange handling the trading account. You don’t, for example, pay your Bitcoin from Gemini. You withdraw it from Gemini to your Bitcoin wallet, say, Mycelium, then spend it. This is a regular practice for Bitcoin custodianship without wallet feature.

When it comes to crypto.com, they operate in the same model as Gemini, but curiously, decided to call itself “wallet”. That’s bad because when a user installs a wallet app, he expects to spend from it, and crypto.com wallet doesn’t let you do that. On the contrary, a user wouldn’t expect to spend from Gemini or COINJAR’s mobile app because those are not called “wallet”s.

It costed me dearly to learn this. I went to do a deal with 5 Bitcoins in my balance, clicks “send Bitcoin”, got a “how much do you want to withdraw” message, clicked “Withdraw”. “Who withdraws from his wallet? Ain’t the money already spendable in the wallet?” I thought. Then, one hour has gone, two hours… until I had to invite my trading partner for dinner to wait out. Eventually, I learned that it takes days to “Withdraw”.

All in all, crypto.com card delivered the essence of what it offered, a rare occurrence in the blockchain world. I didn’t find anything that I am not happy with except the misleading naming of their mobile app, and I am famous for being a negative person!

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