There exists an ongoing discussion between regulators, investors and spectators on whether or not cryptocurrencies are actually currencies and not merely investment vehicles. The truth is that these ‘currencies’ are more aptly described as securities in their current form, and will likely be treated as such when regulators begin to form more defined legislation. One of the main reasons being the fact that most altcoins have limited value as a transfer agent outside of their native platforms.
One solution to improve the overall transfer value of cryptocurrencies is crypto debit cards, which enable investors to actively spend their holdings as easily as fiat currencies. One project actively developing a platform for crypto debit cards is Monaco, which offers a variety of card options, coupled with a mobile wallet, credit system and an automatic trading platform. Monaco is a Visa program manager, as such, they can issue their own Visa-branded cards and leverage the Visa transaction network. What’s more, Monaco offers a token-based card-tier system, as well as token cash-back rewards that work to mimic more traditional credit cards. Together, Monaco aims to become the first major debit card available across international markets.
Interested in Monaco? Here’s a quick rundown of the project:
Platform & Development
Essentially, Monaco is building a cryptocurrency platform comprised of four major products: Visa cards, a mobile app, a credit system and an auto-investment platform.
The hallmark product of Monaco is its Visa cards, which function very much like any other debit card. When a user charges their Monaco card, the best possible exchange rate is automatically implemented to provide a seamless purchasing experience. There are no minimum balances or monthly fees associated with Monaco cards, but there are specific ATM withdrawal and interbank exchange limits attached to the different tiers of cards.
Monaco cards come in 4 different tiers, depending on the amount of MCO tokens a cardholder owns:
- Midnight Blue: Free card with $2000 interbank exchange rates limit and $200 free ATM withdrawal limit. No cashback rewards.
- Ruby Steel: Requires 6-month hold of 50 MCO tokens. $4000 interbank exchange rates limit and $400 free ATM withdrawal limit. 1% cashback on all purchases.
- Precious Metal: Requires 6-month hold of 500 MCO tokens. $10,000 interbank exchange rates limit and $800 free ATM withdrawal limit. 1.5% cashback on all purchases and LoungeKey™ Airport Lounge Access.
- Obsidian Black: Requires 6-month hold of 50,000 MCO tokens. Unlimited interbank exchange rates limit and $1000 free ATM withdrawal limit. 2% cashback on all purchases and LoungeKey™ Airport Lounge Access + 1 guest. Supply limited to 999 cards.
Like other crypto debit card projects, regulatory compliance is a major hurdle to overcome for Monaco. Recently, they have partnered with a number of established companies to facilitate their regulatory approval, including Thomson Reuters World-Check for KYC/AML verification and Jumio for ID verification and other identity services. Ultimately, the make-or-break will be for Monaco to obtain regulatory approval in the United States, by no means an easy task.
Monaco’s mobile app allows cardholders to manage their cryptocurrency holdings and cashback rewards via a secure wallet with a built-in exchange function, and even offers peer-to-peer crypto transfers. The mobile app is the main platform by which Monaco is building out further innovations related to credit and auto-investing.
Monaco is developing a system of credit that enables users to lend money by putting up their bitcoin or MCO tokens as collateral. Currently, if you put up MCO, you are eligible to access up to 60% of the collateral. For bitcoin collateral, that number is 40%. This system will offer no monthly payments, no deadlines and no credit checks, which works to provide cryptocurrency holders with a method of unlocking the liquidity in their digital assets, without the needing to liquidate their positions.
Perhaps the most intriguing of all Monaco products, Auto Invest will allow users to easily create a cryptocurrency profile with any sum of money and with no setup or withdrawal fees. If a user is not interested in building their own portfolio, Monaco offers personalized options that are automatically drafted based on that user’s preferences and investment goals. If Monaco is able to properly roll this feature out, it could add significant value, as it will expand its offerings enough to be competitive with projects like Ethos.
The 2018 roadmap for Monaco is extremely bullish, with a fair number of aggressive milestones. The project has received backlash from its community for not providing more concrete dates and failing to announce key events on time.
The Monaco team is led by seasoned entrepreneurs, with expertise in mobile payments and investment banking in the Asian markets. Once the project solidified, they formed Monaco Technology GmbH, a Swiss company which has no connection with, endorsement or license from the Principality of Monaco.
Monaco (MCO) currently has a market cap of ~$100 million with a circulating supply of 13,205,542 MCO and a total supply of 31,587,682 MCO.
Monaco is one of a few major crypto debit card players vying to be the first to enter major western markets. Given its range of products and seasoned management team, Monaco stands a good chance of becoming the premier platform for real-world cryptocurrency usage.
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Disclaimer: The author(s) of this article may have a position in one or more of the securities mentioned above. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.