Financial regulators in the UK have lifted restrictions on Wirecard Card Solutions (WCS) in a move likely to soothe the anxieties of TenX and Crypto.com’s Visa crypto debit cardholders.
WCS-Issued Crypto Debit Cards Now Unblocked
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced the lifting of the Wirecard embargo in a press statement issued on Monday (June 29, 2020). An excerpt from the press release reads:
“We have been working closely with Wirecard UK and other authorities over the last few days to ensure that the firm was able to meet certain conditions required to lift the restrictions we imposed on it. We are now in a position to allow Wirecard to resume operational activity.”
Reacting to the news, both Crypto.com and TenX issued statements informing their customers of the latest developments. Crypto.com and TenX are in partnership with as the latter is the payment processor that issues their Visa crypto debit cards.
According to Crypto.com’s statement, customers can move their refunded cryptocurrency balances back to their Europe/ UK MCO Visa cards. Tweeting earlier on Tuesday, TenX informed customers that its card services were back online.
Crypto.com is currently celebrating its fourth anniversary with a promotion offering Bitcoin (BTC) at half market price for 25,000 new users. The platform also plans to give away $120,000 in BTC.
The FCA’s initial embargo on Wirecard came after the German company filed for bankruptcy. Earlier in June, reports emerged of the payment processor owing creditors about $4B amid allegations of questionable auditing practices.
Circumventing Censorship via Cryptocurrency Adoption
While the restrictions were in place, WCS-issued cardholders could not access their funds. Where the likes of Crypto.com and TenX immediately refunded card balances to their customer’s wallets, non-cryptocurrency services like Payoneer were left in limbo.
The WCS debacle once again highlights how customers of mainstream financial services can easily become “de-platformed” leading to loss of funds. Given the borderless nature of cryptocurrencies, such censorships are often difficult to manage.
In Zimbabwe, the government recently banned all mobile money transfer channels leaving only BTC as the viable means of electronic payment. Lebanon’s currency is in free-fall with people pivoting towards Bitcoin as forex becomes even more difficult to acquire.
Even for crypto services, there appear to be concerted efforts to improve the usability of decentralized marketplaces. Centralized platforms can still fall victim to government censorship as seen in times past where services were forced to geo-fence tokens in certain countries.