Fit Pay Inc. announced on Friday it will begin shipping its Bitcoin-based contactless device, Flip, on Feb. 13. The coin-shaped token sells to consumers for $29 and allows them to convert their Bitcoin holdings to U.S. dollars and then spend the money at stores equipped with contactless point-of-sale terminals. The device comes equipped with a near-field communication antenna.
The announcement comes seven months after NXT-ID Inc., Fit Pay’s parent company, announced the Flip device had completed initial testing of its digital wallet and Bitcoin-exchange integration. At that point, the company was still seeking approvals from the card networks. A Fit Pay spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Digital Transactions News regarding the status of those network clearances and how many pre-orders have been received so far. Fit Pay opened Flip for pre-orders nearly a year ago.
The Flip device, which requires an existing Bitcoin account and is available only in the U.S. market, allows users to set how much money, in dollar terms, they want to store at any time and also when they would like the wallet to be reloaded. It does not require recharging, but the user will incur account and exchange fees.
“Flip bridges the gap between cryptocurrencies and traditional payments, providing Bitcoin holders the ability to use their value for everyday transactions,” said Michael Orlando, chief operating officer of NXT-ID and Fit Pay’s president, in a statement. “We are very pleased that the first Flip users will have their devices soon.”
In addition to producing the Flip device, San Francisco-based Fit Pay also provides the token requester management platform for contactless payments made on Garmin International Inc. smart watches.
Melbourne, Fla.-based NXT-ID in September said it planned to spin off its payments, authentication, and credential-management assets, including Fit Pay, by November into a separate and independent, publicly traded company. But last month the company announced it was delaying the spin-off until the first quarter owing to its inability to come to terms with its primary lender, which holds security interests in the assets included in the spin-off. The new company is expected to be called PartX Inc. NXT-ID will retain its LogicMark LLC unit.