It’s not known how large the beta test is, or even when the beta officially launched. Shift itself has kept relatively quiet about the service, although there are reports of a limited number of cards being released late last month.
The timing of this new round of beta invites is a strong indication that things are moving rapidly for bitcoin’s push into the mainstream. Invites to Circle, once suspected of being vaporware, are becoming extremely common, and Xapo’s version of a bitcoin-backed card has been available since mid-summer. With PayPal making no secret of its movements into the bitcoin space, and the likely integration of a bitcoin wallet into their service in the coming months, the market for services that can bridge the gap between digital and real-world currencies is already starting to look a little crowded.