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Ether.fi Plans Visa Card for Crypto Hardliners

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With the “Cash” Visa card from Ether.fi, the Ethereum-based liquid startup, crypto loyalist-practitioners may be able to convert their investments in decentralized finance into cash.

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The latest offering from liquid restaking startup Ether.fi may finally enable “paper rich” cryptocurrency enthusiasts to convert their blockchain investments into cash.
Ether.fi Cash is a mobile wallet and credit card that leverages USDC, the well-known stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, against an individual’s investments in decentralized finance (DeFi) and can be repaid entirely in cryptocurrency.

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“Our mission is to build a suite of integrated apps that make DeFi actually usable for normal people,” said Ether.fi founder Mike Silagadze. “Cash is your spending account, with the dream being that you never have to off-ramp” from the blockchain. “Off-ramping” refers to the tedious (and fee-laden) process of converting between cash and crypto.

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Nowadays, Ether.fi is most recognized for its ability to direct funds into EigenLayer, the massive Ethereum-based restaking company that offers incentives to investors in exchange for assisting them in securing emerging blockchain services. Over the course of the last year, EigenLayer has received about $18 billion in deposits, of which over $5.5 billion came from users who first deposited their funds into Ether.fi in exchange for eETH tokens, which are essentially receipts for EigenLayer deposits that can be traded in cryptocurrency markets just like any other asset.

Ether.fi offers a “Liquid” program in addition to its “Stake” program, through which users can place money into vaults that employ carefully chosen trading strategies.

Cardholders of Ether.fi Cash will have the option to borrow money against their Stake or Liquid deposits, and they will be able to use the interest earned from those investments to settle their bills automatically. Alternatively, users have the option to convert assets straight into USDC, which enables quick settlement.

According to Silagadze, “you only need to on-ramp once onto Ether.fi because you can save, invest, and spend all of your money with Cash.” “You don’t need to plug into the TradFi ecosystem in order to live your life normally and get paid in cryptocurrency.” Ether.fi wants to provide a rewards program that is focused on cryptocurrencies, similar to what Chase and other traditional card issuers offer. It also intends to set itself apart from conventional credit cards with a fee structure modeled after the DeFi market, as opposed to the typical 15–30% annual percentage rate that regular credit cards charge.

Although Cash is not the first attempt at a cryptocurrency-based card, Silagadze is adamant that earlier iterations of such products have been nothing more than “garbage.”

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He said, “the majority of them are Visa debit cards.” “Because Visa debit cards are limited to use at hotels and car rentals, they are useless. They aren’t very useful for anything. Simply put, they are impractical.

“This is a real credit card,” stressed Silagadze.

Although he anticipates that Cash will be available to consumers in September, it is unlikely that Cash will be offered in some major markets, such as the United States, due to regulatory concerns.

There will always be special complications when using cryptocurrency as cash, such as tax and market ramifications.

“Alright, this actually helps me navigate this universe,” might be the feeling that someone considering becoming a proper degen gets from seeing something like this, according to Silagadze, “but initially this is designed for crypto natives.” CRYPTOCASTER® - DECENTRALIZED FREEDOM!


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