Ben Dives

Ben Dives of LBX

Former City workers launch debit card for cryptocurrencies

The London Block Exchange (LBX) has launched a debit card which will allow UK consumers to spend cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in their local supermarket.

Canary Wharf-based London Block Exchange, a fintech start-up founded by a team of ex-City workers, has launched a debit card which will allow consumers to use cryptocurrencies to shop in stores across the UK.

The LBX Dragoncard works by immediately performing a trade on the exchange and converting cryptocurrency into traditional funds in order to instantly purchase goods. "If a shop accepts Visa, it now accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or Ripple," said LBX founder and CEO Benjamin Dives.

He said that the opening of a London exchange was a response to growing demand from consumers and institutions crying out for a professional and secure exchange: "Despite being the financial capital of the world, London is a difficult place for investors to enter and trade in the cryptocurrency market.

“We'll bring it into the mainstream by removing the barriers to access, and by helping people understand and have confidence in what we believe is the future of money." 

Whilst the exchange's founders include cryptocurrency experts, its executive chairman, Adam Bryant is from traditional financial services, having run the macro hedge fund team for Credit Suisse and then UBS.

Cryptocurrencies are the fastest growing asset class in history, and despite scepticism from some banks and governments around the world, have seen huge gains. For example, Ethereum has risen nearly 30-fold since January (from around $10 to $300).

LBX will launch with five digital currencies - Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Monero. Additional credible cryptocurrencies will be added each month.

Bryant added: "Cryptocurrency has come of age with LBX. We're offering a grown up and robust experience for those who wish to safely and easily understand and invest in digital currencies.

“We're confident we'll transform this market in the UK and will become the leading cryptocurrency and blockchain consultancy for institutional investors and consumers alike."