One of the biggest problems in the digital currency world is the lack of a "closed loop" that permits employers to receive revenue in digital specie, pay employees in it, and employees to pay for any goods and services in it. The BitWage and Xapo agreement facilitate that closing by making enabling businesses that receive fiat to pay employees in BTC who can then spend it as fiat at the point of sale.
The obvious question is who stands to benefit. Not most businesses, obviously, but those for whom remittance is some integral element of the payment process at some point. At some point, BTC business seems to keep coming back to remittance.
BitWage is partnering with Xapo to create the world’s first international bitcoin payroll debit card. This is a big step forward for bitcoin practicality in the workplace, and in everyday life. [...] One of the most oft heard criticisms of bitcoin’s usefulness today is a supposed lack of utility. This is largely a PR problem, as much as bitcoin acceptance is, but presents a valid point. There may be many services that can help take care of many day-to-day tasks, like paying for groceries, but they are often unintuitive or too intimidating for the average consumer. This partnership seems to be a step in the right direction for bridging that gap between the crypto-enthusiast and the everyman.