Not the fact that its value fluctuates so wildly ?
This does not worry me at all, since the value has been mostly fluctuating upwards. The positive risk outweights the negative.
With this card, people can invest in to bitcoin small amount each month, and they still can use their bitcoin reserves when they need.
SELL SELL SELL 
BUY BUY BUY 
Even if what you said were true (That bitcoin has mainly being flunctating upwards), then the people selling things in bitcoins are actually losing on the trade.
What do you think the result of that is going to be?
Goods sold in bitcoins are going to be really unstable and sellers are going to be disincetived in selling them (or they'll just charge a premium for them - making them more expensive than if you paid for them in dollars).
The point is, that a currency flunctating a lot, even if mainly upwards, is not a really good thing. From a speculator perspective, volatility is a great thing, but not for everyone else.
I was just looking for a backup debit card for international travel. This would give me a low-risk but high-utility reason to finally try bitcoin. And avoid opening another damn bank account
I think BitInstant is not special in this sense, they promised bitcoin to cash withdrawals like months ago but haven't managed to ship it.
When was the last time you walked into a bank with a checking account question? You are here on HN so I assume it is rarely or never
But...it's a debit account, so if you need a credit card this may not fit your use case.
(As an aside - never never change cash for travelling abroad, the commissions/spreads are ridiculous)
As for bitcoin, I feel that the volatility with respect to regular currency make a debit card not that useful unless you're an ideologue or want to speculate/easily get cash out
And do you really need a bank account per credit/debit card? I'd assume you have "external" credit/debit cards, where the only connection to the account is that it is charged monthly.
- You never know when you'll have a fraud alert and a disabled card. When you're travelling overseas, even if you call ahead to notify the card company, you're a lot more likely to get a fraud alert. You know how you can get stuck on hold with your card company, lost in touch-tone hell? Well imagine that on cell phone roaming charges with a dying battery on a noisy street corner.
- You never know what will be accepted. Some machines only take chip and PIN (which is the norm in Europe and Asia, they think signing a receipt is weird), sometimes a clerk doesn't know how to do chip and sign or swipe and sign (which is universal here in the US).
- Most of all, you're in a country where you dont speak the language, the ATMs look different, you might not be able to read the signs or even have a conversation with a cab driver.
When your card gets rejected, you want to have a backup. So, two credit cards (from two different providers) and two debit cards (from two different providers).
That said I have looked into cards with no foreign transaction fees for future international travel. They do exist, but one more issue is making sure they support "chip and pin" for European countries.
Using cards internationally can be hit or miss.
How about £0? That's a solved problem too. In the parts of the world with a working, modernized banking system and proper competition.
I could chose to be part of those who got charged £1. I chose not to, and so did so many others, that where I live, finding a bank which charges you money at all to withdraw anywhere in the world is the exception, not the rule.
There may be merits to bitcoin (although I do admit I have very little knowledge, insight or understanding of the system), but you don't need it to have working banking institutions and free trade. That I do know.
Is it the same for my mother's credit card she got at the supermarker for club discounts? Probably not, but she uses another one outside the supermarket.
 There is probably some hidden fee in the conversion rate, but it seems to me a fair conversion rate, not unlike I would get at the post office.
 Personal cards
After Stack Overflow, we should really start referring to this as an "Atwood period".
Sounds like trouble.
In my country we have a bank that is called "roberry". Very popular. Look it up its called "skok" bank szewczyka.
> <bitinstant> JimN, the card is denominated in USD, EUR, GBP so far
<bitinstant> ThomasV, yes
<sharpfocus> so the card can have fiat and btc on it concurrently presumably
<bitinstant> sharpfocus, yes precisly
Extra lines redacted to reduce noise :)
In addition, if ASIC hardware starts shipping, GPU is completely out of the game and FPGAs will be hard pressed to stay powered on.
GPU mining had a good run for nearly two years, but it is about to be obsoleted.
You can buy them, you know. That's the whole point of Bitcoin exchanges.
Perhaps it would become a sensible concern if a country would adopt BTC as their currency and another country would decide to attack that country by destroying their currency.
Not to mention the fact that all that computing work is wasted doing nothing useful.
I'd much rather see grid computing networks offer signed certificates proving that you did a certain amount of work for them in place of money, but also allow you to swap them for cash.
That way, the computing power did something useful. Sure every grid computing network would be it's own 'central authority', but as long as they all adhere to a common api, I don't think that's a problem.
In your computation certificate proposal, would you be able to trade certificates? If so, each grid network would be able to trade counterfeited certs (generate certs for which no work was performed). If not, it isn't a currency. Not to mention that exponential increases in computing power would cause the system to be inflationary, where a goal of bitcoin is to be deflationary.
Yes, you'd be able to trade certificates and portions of certificates. The point is that the certificates have some real value too since they are essentially vouchers for more computer time on the grid network (some percentage of the time you contributed in the first place), that's why a grid provider wouldn't want to distribute more certificates than necessary.
There are a number of ways around the inflationary problem, the simplest would be for the certificates to be in whole grid computing seconds, so as the grid grew larger and more able, the certificates would increase in value at the same rate.
By the way being deflationary is a really bad idea - it stops investment and shrinks the whole pie of economic activity. Perhaps it wouldn't matter too much for a parallel currency, but for your main currency it'd result in massive unemployment.
It kind of shows you the evolution of our banking systems and why we need one.
One important thing stopping the current depression from being as catastrophic as the great depression is the policy of the Federal Reserve (which is hugely influenced by Goldman Sachs) of printing money and keeping interest rates at 0%. If they didn't do that, we'd be far worse off right now.
So yes, as far as regulating the money supply goes, I'd trust the directors of Goldman Sachs over some algorithm any day, especially when that algorithm seems to have been designed by people with a very dogmatic theory of value, a theory that history demonstrates is incompatible with happiness.
Another school of thought also says that inflation is a second form (after the taxes) of government oppression over the citizens; and that truely free currency should avoid both forms of government oppression: inflation and taxation.
It isn't an either/or scenario. Parallel currencies for the win!
Even if we are talking about comercial banking as apposed to investment banking, little changes.Bitcoin is just a protocol. However, as more people interact with it via exchanges that may hold their private keys(think mtgox,bitconica, etc), we start to see things that look a lot like comercial banks: organizations run by people entrusted with the currency you store with them. The owners of these "banks",whether we white guys tanned by trips to the cayman islands and the vineyard or monitor-tanned cipher-punks of some more cuddly ethnicity/gender, can and eventually will abuse that privilege. The will abscond with peoples money, commit fraud, issue bad lonas and do any number of other things with it. Moreover, in the case of bitcoin exchanges,there is very little regulation and no legal recourse in the event of theft or default(since all transactions are final and there is no FDIC for bitcoin).
How can a currency become a bank? You have a very strange definition of the word bank. I don't even know what you're trying to say.
Downvoting, really? That's like me saying "USD is becoming a bank! And that's awful!".