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American Express Brings Credit Card Buying to Bitcoin App Abra

Beginning today, a select group of Abra users and new customers will see the option to buy bitcoin with their American Express card.

The months-long integration process between the two companies involved Abra exposing the depths of its business processes to its partner and investor, and has resulted in an even closer relationship between the firms.

Still, Abra founder and CEO Bill Barhydt believes the end result of that effort could be a rapid acceleration of bitcoin adoption globally.

Barhydt told CoinDesk:

"Abra has to become effectively an American Express processor internally in order to do this, because we're processing directly with American Express. There's no third-party acquirer in the middle."

This means users whose American Express purchase option is enabled today can now purchase up to $200 worth of bitcoin per day, and up to $1,000 of bitcoin per month for a 4 percent fee.

Designed to cover Abra's own costs, Barhydt said the startup doesn't expect to generate any revenue from the fees, but will rather earn its share from managing the exchange rates between US dollars and bitcoin.

American Express spokesperson Elizabeth Crosta clarified that while Abra’s customers are now able to fund their wallets with American Express Abra is not processing the transaction.

All hands on deck

But it's perhaps the scale of what was needed to make this feature a reality that is most notable.

In the weeks leading up to today's launch, Abra employees, American Express staff and Abra investors have been testing the integration, Barhydt said. In spite of the tests though, the remaining Abra customers won't receive permission to conduct American Express purchases until initial users safely complete purchases.

"There are some potentially unsavory folks in our universe," said Barhydt. "And we want to make sure we're servicing the people whose intentions are good, and not the other...

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