Owners of blue-chip NFTs can now customize Mastercard debit cards with avatars they verifiably own.
The credit card giant has entered into a partnership with hi, which describes itself as a crypto and fiat financial app.
It means the owners of CryptoPunks, Moonbirds, and Bored Apes will be able to have their beloved character emblazoned on the plastic that’s in their pocket.
As ever, the devil is in the detail. In total, hi has six different membership tiers — and NFT debit cards are only available to Gold, Platinum, and Diamond members.
This involves staking 100,000 HI tokens — and at the time of writing, that would involve locking up about $5,000. Sean Rach, the co-founder of hi, said:
“Not only do the NFT cards look amazing, this is a great way for people to show which online community they belong to, but in the real world.”
The cards aim to fuse together fiat and crypto payments, as well as offering cashback on spending, free subscriptions to lifestyle products, and travel perks.
Mastercard’s senior vice president for crypto and fintech enablement, Christian Rau, added:
“As consumer interest in crypto and NFTs continues to grow, we are committed to making them an accessible payments choice for the communities who wish to use them. We are proud to be working with hi to continue to drive innovation in the market and enable these customizable cards together with the safety and security you’d expect from Mastercard.”
To begin with, hi cards are available across Europe and in the UK — and only a limited number of NFT collections are supported. Owners need to verify they own a collectible before their card can be customized.
This is the latest example of NFTs getting a new lease of life in the real world. Back in August, Tiffany & Co. auctioned off NFTiffs — digital passes that entitle collectors to a bejeweled, physical pendant of their CryptoPunk. Just 250 were available, and they sold out in 20 minutes.
Mastercard has proven to be one of the most bullish legacy payment providers when it comes to cryptocurrency adoption.
In a LinkedIn post over the summer, the credit card giant’s CEO, Michael Miebach, wrote:
“We can unlock the full potential of blockchain technology when we make it easier to access and easier to use.”
Miebach confirmed that Mastercard was working with Binance to ensure people could use their crypto to make purchases at over 90 million stores — with products initially rolled out in Argentina.
The Binance Card is prepaid and enables users to buy things and pay bills using Bitcoin and BNB — with crypto converted into fiat at the time of purchase.
Indicating that this is just the beginning, Miebach added:
“What could the blockchain industry look like in five years? We’re seeing hints of that.”
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