Holders of Visa crypto cards in the first half of 2021 spent more than $ 1 billion in dollar terms to pay for goods and services, said Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu.
To be clear, the billion dollar mark is not entirely composed of consumers spending cryptocurrency. Some transactions are linked to fiat accounts, but result in cryptocurrency rewards; some are indeed cryptocurrency transactions. The payment giant did not provide a breakdown.
Recall that a cryptocurrency card is an analogue of a bank card that allows transfers and payments using one or more cryptocurrencies.
Visa supports cards that allow consumers to easily convert cryptocurrency to fiat and spend it. As well as cards that allow them to spend fiat and earn cryptocurrency as a reward.
The company currently partners with 50 leading cryptocurrency platforms, including FTX and Coinbase, through card programs. Customers can convert and spend digital assets at any of the 70 million merchant and service points that support Visa.
“Merchants don’t have to change anything. For them, this is the same transaction as any other. The service instantly converts cryptocurrency to fiat”, said Cuy Sheffield, Senior Director and Head of Cryptocurrency at Visa.
Many people still don’t understand cryptocurrencies
Sheffield noted that the company is simultaneously working with a “growing number” of digital asset holders and “millions” of merchants who do not understand cryptocurrencies and do not want to interact with them.
“They do not want to update points of sale and terminals, as well as understand what blockchain is”, he added. This is also due to the fact that cryptocurrencies still have many problems. For example, high volatility, but the owners of digital assets must independently manage the risks. Prabhu noted that the company is now working on an ecosystem that will make the use of cryptocurrency as convenient as fiat money.
“In our network, we see a large volume of purchases of cryptocurrencies on regulated exchanges, and as far as we can tell, this trend continues”, he said.
Visa doesn’t invest in cryptocurrencies
Prabhu stressed that in the near future, Visa does not plan to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as Tesla, MicroStrategy and other public companies did. “We do not keep cryptocurrencies on our balance sheet. Visa hold the currencies we need to run our business. We hold currencies in which we receive salaries or pay people. As a rule, these are the dollar, euro and pound sterling”, he explained.
More and more companies are starting to work with crypto
In March, Visa became the first major payment service to directly interact with digital assets and conduct cryptocurrency transactions. The payment system conducted the first transaction in USDC stablecoin using the Ethereum blockchain.
In February, the MasterCard payment system also announced plans to start carrying out cryptocurrency transactions. The company plans to start working directly with digital assets in 2021.
Last September, Swipe, owned by Binance, the largest exchange by trading volume, unveiled a new Visa card that allows the holder to borrow funds using blockchain technology. The card also allows you to pay with stablecoins.
According to a recent study by Visa’s competitor, Mastercard, 40% of payment system users plan to use digital currencies in 2022.