08 Jul 2021 Josphat Kariuki
$1 Billion Of Cryptocurrencies Spent By Visa Users In The First Half Of 2021
In just six months, Visa recorded over $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies spent by users globally. The California-based card payments giant also noted that the company joins forces with over 50 crypto-oriented companies to allow Visa users to convert and spend their digital currencies via cards in a frictionless manner.
The expansion would lead to Visa cardholders being able to spend their digital funds at nearly 70 million merchants globally, even at those that do not accept digital currencies.
Akshay Chopra, vice president and head of innovation and design at Visa for Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa noted:
“Visa's strategy to support digital currencies is simply to serve as a bridge between the crypto ecosystem and our global network of 70 million merchants and 10,000 financial institutions.”
“We just crossed the $1bn mark in spend on various crypto-linked programs... of course, that is only a small fraction of the total Visa card spend … but considering these programs didn't exist in any significant way a year ago, it is an indication that they are slowly gaining traction,” Chopra added.
Circle, BlockFi, and Coinbase are among the top crypto companies, included in the list. A partnership with Coinbase is vital for Visa’s plans, as the crypto exchange became the first exchange of its kind to be publicly offered on Nasdaq. The agreement between Visa and Coinbase effectively puts Coinbase users with a Visa with the ability to spend money directly from their wallet accounts.
Meanwhile, the card payments giant emphasized how Central Bank Digital Currencies, or CBDCs, should be designed and how they could be integrated into the existing payment ecosystem.
Cuy Sheffield, vice president and head of crypto at Visa, commented that “cryptocurrencies have started to look like an evolution of money ... we want to ensure that our processes, products, and solutions keep up with this evolution so that these new forms of money can be used in a safe, secure and reliable manner.”
However, Visa’s crypto moves are closely monitored by rivaling card payments provider Mastercard is also reportedly planning to offer support for some cryptocurrencies on its network this year.
The main difference between Visa’s plan and Mastercard’s actions is Mastercard would allow crypto transactions, but outside the company’s formal network.
Interestingly, despite backing up crypto companies and users, Visa doesn’t plan to add cryptos to its balance sheet, like the short-lived Tesla case.
“We hold currencies that we get paid in or we pay people in. That tends to be the dollar, euro, pound. So we don’t have plans to hold cryptocurrency because it’s not typically the way we get paid or the way we pay people.” Visa’s chief financial officer Vasant Prabhu commented.Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Nasdaq cryptocurrencies cryptocurrency news crypto news Payments Visa