Global payments juggernaut Visa is doubling down on crypto.
In a conversation with CNBC on July 7, Visa chief financial officer Vasant Prabhu said the company has grand plans for digital currencies. Precisely, Prabhu stated that Visa is working on building an ecosystem to make crypto more usable.
“We are doing a lot to create an ecosystem that makes cryptocurrency more usable and more like any other currency. People are exploring ways in which they can use cryptocurrencies for things they would use normal currencies for.”
Granted there is the issue of volatility, the Visa CFO notes that it will be up to the investors to manage and track it.
Visa’s Big Crypto Bet
Visa has recently launched a suite of products that allow its customers to easily convert cryptocurrencies to fiat currency and spend it on locations where Visa is accepted. This implies that crypto could be accepted at over 70 million merchants that support Visa cards. Additionally, the company also lets users spend fiat and earn crypto rewards.
In an announcement on Wednesday, Visa revealed that its crypto cards registered a staggering $1 billion in total spending within the first half of 2021. For clarity, this billion does not necessarily stem from crypto purchases by consumers as some of the transactions with the crypto cards are linked to fiat accounts that accrue crypto as rewards. The credit card giant did not offer a clear dissection of this. Nonetheless, these crypto-linked cards help bridge the gap between crypto-assets and real-world payments.
Visa also noted that stablecoins (digital currencies like USDC whose value is pegged to fiat currencies issued by the central bank) are “starting to live up to the promise of ‘digital fiat’”, adding that they are poised to become a key part of the wider transformation of financial services and Visa is happy to support that development.
The company further posited:
“We’ve been busy at Visa, connecting the crypto economy to our ‘network-of-networks,’ a strategy designed to add value to all forms of money movement, whether on the Visa network, or beyond.”
Visa To Partner With Over 50 Major Crypto Companies
In March, Visa CEO Al Kelly claimed that cryptocurrencies will become “extremely mainstream” in five years. While Visa itself does not plan on adding bitcoin to its balance sheet like other publicly-listed companies (Tesla and MicroStrategy, for instance), the company intends to work closely with more cryptocurrency-focused companies.
Notably, the payment company has already teamed up with crypto firms, including Coinbase, BlockFi, Crypto.com, and FTX exchange. Visa is set to partner with 50 more high-profile crypto companies on crypto card programs that will make it easier for users to spend digital currencies at its 70+ million businesses across the globe.
Since making a foray into the crypto industry, Visa has reiterated its dedication to cryptocurrency payments, fiat-to-crypto onramps, and stablecoin-friendly developments.