Latest bankruptcy proves ‘smart cards’ were a complete disaster


It’s time to forget about the promise of a single piece of plastic capable of housing all the cards you carry in your wallet.

Plastc, like many smart card startups before it, has closed its door and filed for bankruptcy—leaving $9 million worth of pre-orders unfulfilled and a community of backers fuming.

Launched in 2014, Plastc has all but vanished after explaining it would be “exploring options to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and will cease operations on April 20, 2017.” The company posted a notice on its website giving the reasons for its downfall. It says it was expecting to close on $3.5 million in Series A funding in February this year but claims the investment round “fell through.”

Instead of informing its backers and helping them recuperate their losses, Plastc let go of all of its employees and shut down its social media channels (though they do still have a YouTube page). Ryan Marquis, co-founder of Plastc, even deleted his personal Twitter account.

Plastc’s bankruptcy shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Coin, Swyp, and Stratos—a few of the biggest names in the all-in-one payment card space—have either folded or no longer produce cards. In fact, the Twitter account @PlastcDelayed predicted Plastc’s demise back in December when it urged backers to get a refund before the company shuttered.

The same account is asking backers to help file a class-action lawsuit against Plastc to “sue the sh*t out of these d*cks.” That might sound harsh, but the Twitter account claims the company blocked users who asked to see a working prototype of the mysterious product, leading some backers to believe they were being scammed. In June, blogger Alex Bitterman wrote a post titled “Plastc: I think it’s a scam,” outlining some of the reasons he thinks backers are “being taken for a ride.”

“The latest update is that Plastc will ship in August–September 2016,” Bitterman wrote. “My prediction: another delay will be announced and no cards will ship. All of which means: you’ve probably been scammed.”

Plastc had already signed deals with major banks including Bank of America, Chase, U.S. bank, Citibank, Charles Schwab, and Wells Fargo, according to TechCrunch. Its card was also built to be future-proof with both chip and PIN compatibility. Each unit promised to hold 20 different credit or debit cards, which could be chosen using a built-in E-ink touchscreen. The company planned to release its product several years ago but continually pushed back shipping dates.

In its final words, the defunct smart card company praised its “amazing backers” before clarifying it would not be able to fulfill any pre-orders. The team closed by attempting to reassure its backers with a statement that is sure to fall on deaf ears: “We are disappointed and emotionally distraught, and while we know this is extremely disappointing for you, we want our backers to know that we did everything we could to make Plastc Card a reality.”

H/T The Verge



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