Abra Announces Crypto Card to Operate on American Express Network

Despite a recent rash of bad news, crypto-centric startups are continuing to press forward. Among them, the trading platform Abra just announced plans to launch a crypto rewards credit card. What’s more, in a twist from other offerings, this product will be an American Express card.

According to Abra, their upcoming card will earn crypto back on any purchase category. These crypto rewards will then be tradable, allowing users to convert them into any of the more than 100 assets the platform currently supports. Abra also promises no annual fees or foreign transaction fees. Additionally, as a card operating on the American Express network, cardholders will have access to Amex Offers, special ticket presales, purchase protections, and other benefits. The card is expected to launch late this year and a waitlist is now available.

While Abra’s upcoming card is far from the first crypto rewards credit card, it is the first to utilize the American Express network. Previously, offerings such as the BlockFi Rewards card have partnered with Visa while others including the Gemini Credit Card operate on the Mastercard payment network.

Announcing the credit card, Abra founder and CEO Bill Barhydt said in a statement, “We’ve made it super easy for anyone to trade crypto, earn interest, and borrow against crypto holdings in one, integrated app. Our collaboration with American Express will now make it even easier to access and earn crypto. He continued, “The news also represents another step toward Abra eventually offering an instant line of credit directly at the point of sale. This is the future of payments.”

Meanwhile, American Express’s president of Global Network Services Mohammed Badi said of this new venture, “One of the ways we back the evolution and innovation of commerce is by making it easier for FinTech to develop and scale innovative payment solutions leveraging the American Express global payments network and the Amex/i2c platform. We have a long-standing relationship with Abra through our Amex Ventures investment portfolio, they have deep expertise in both crypto and traditional financial services, and we are now pleased to extend the American Express brand and benefits to their customers as the payments network for their first card.”

The timing of the Abra crypto credit card announcement comes as the cryptocurrency market is experiencing issues on multiple fronts. Not only are prices for numerous crypto assets cratering but news that the platform Celsius was forced to freeze deposits, withdrawals, and trades has only caused more panic. Currently, Bitcoin is trading for around $22,000 — or nearly one-third its record high. That figure is also down from the $30,000 BTC was trading for early this week.

With few details to go on at this time, it’s hard to say how the Abra crypto rewards card will stack up against other options. Instead, the interesting part of this announcement (aside from the awkward timing) is the involvement of Amex. As for whether American Express will continue down this road of crypto exploration remains to be seen, but this project may be worth watching either way.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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