LitePay will be one of the biggest developments in cryptocurrency in 2018, with its impact rippling out far beyond Litecoin.
The announcement from LitePay Inc. late Monday (Feb. 12) that the service will go live Feb. 26 was a prime catalyst in pushing the Litecoin price as much as 37% higher over the next few days.
But even that reaction understates what LitePay will mean for Litecoin and the role cryptocurrencies are destined to play in the global economy.
This is a genuine turning point...
What Is LitePay?
Basically, LitePay is a way to spend Litecoin just about anywhere you can use a credit or debit card.
Customers start by ordering a card from the LitePay website. When the LitePay card arrives in the mail, the customer activates it on the LitePay website and creates a cardholder account. Then the customer transfers the Litecoin they want to spend to that account.
The LitePay card is linked to that account. When the account is funded, the card is ready to use as you would any other pre-paid credit card.
And get this - you can use the LitePay card almost anywhere, because it works with the vast Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) network.
When used, the card converts the Litecoin amount to the merchant's local currency. The payment is sent instantly to the merchant's bank from the user's LitePay account. According to the LitePay website, the system is available in 41 countries and works with multiple currencies, including U.S. dollars, euros and British pounds.
LitePay makes it much easier for Litecoin owners to spend their cryptocurrency, but there's a lot for merchants to like as well.
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For one thing, LitePay does the currency conversion instantly, removing any risk the merchant would have to account for Litecoin price fluctuations. The instant transfer of money is also appealing, as cryptocurrency payments typically involve delays of several minutes or even hours.
But best of all, a LitePay transaction carries a fee of just 1% - about half the interchange fee that Visa and Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) charge merchants. That could tempt merchants to encourage the use of LitePay over conventional credit cards.
Here's why this is such a big deal and will have a dramatic impact on the entire cryptocurrency sector...
Why LitePay Will Push Many Cryptocurrency Prices Higher
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With LitePay, using Litecoin as a currency is simple and straightforward, fulfilling the promise contained in the name "cryptocurrency."
Making Litecoin easier to spend will help speed it adoption, which will translate into higher Litecoin prices. The Economic Forecast Agency site, which uses mathematical and statistical models to predict the prices of currencies, commodities, and cryptocurrencies, has a Litecoin price target of $1,000 for December 2019.
But the principal behind LitePay could easily be applied to just about any cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, Monero, and Zcash. By removing most of the barriers to spending cryptocurrencies, the LitePay concept makes them accessible to a much larger segment of the population.
Adoption is a primary driver of cryptocurrency prices. As using cryptocurrency gets easier, more people will start doing it. And prices keep moving higher.
Eventually, developers will figure out painless ways for people to spend cryptocurrencies directly without tapping into the banking system. This was the idea that drove the creation of cryptocurrencies in the first place. LitePay is the first stepping stone in the journey toward that day.
That's a game changer.
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About the Author
David Zeiler, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.
Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.