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Visa locks down prepaid cryptocurrency cards, hitting bitcoin and ethereum users

BitPay, Cryptopay and Bitwala all have their cards suspended

Shoppers using cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum were hit after Visa locked down prepaid cards.

BitPay, Cryptopay and Bitwala have all had their cards suspended as of 5 January, meaning they cannot be used to pay for goods on the high street.

The cards allow users to buy leading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum, transfer them onto the prepaid card and use them in the same way as a traditional bank card.

All three of the prepaid cryptocurrency card companies took to social media to release statements about the suspension.

BitPay confirmed the news and said: “Yesterday our European BitPay card issuer received direction from Visa to immediately close all accounts of its prepaid Visa debit programs”.

In its statement Cryptopay said all funds would be returned to users.

“Unfortunately, our card issuer instructed us to cease all Cryptopay prepaid cards starting 5 January, 2018.”

Bitwala said it would hold an “emergency meeting” in an attempt to resolve the issue.

“Following an announcement from our card issuer on behalf of Visa Europe, Bitwala cards are taken out of operation starting today. Our team is holding an emergency meeting to resolve the issue with the card holders best interest in mind and will make an update shortly.”

Services from BitWala and others are provided through WaveCrest, which is based in Gibraltar.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that can be used to buy or sell items from people and companies.

Interest has been sparked recently after bitcoin saw an increase in value in 2017 from $1000 to just $20,000.

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