Payments giant VISA reports: Users have used the company's crypto-credit cards for $1 billion worth of transactions - and that's just in the first two quarters of 2021. As the company's CFO points out, they want to make cryptocurrencies more usable in the future.
Crypto-credit cards increasingly popular
The major payment processors are apparently opening up more to cryptocurrencies. VISA currently reports that consumers around the world spent more than $1 billion in cryptocurrencies on goods and services via special VISA crypto-credit cards in the first six months of 2021. While the service provider has been offering such services since 2019, it does not provide figures for those years. It is only said that the expenditure at that time was only a fraction as large.
Background: VISA cooperates with established crypto companies such as Coinbase, Circle and BlockFi to offer corresponding crypto spending options via credit cards.
Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu told CNBC:
"We're doing a lot to create an ecosystem that makes cryptocurrencies more usable and more like any other currency. People are exploring ways to use cryptocurrencies for things they would use regular currencies for."
Estimates from the company say cryptocurrency-linked cards and other emerging payment options have the potential to take huge chunks out of the $18 trillion spent each year globally with cash and cheques. This is consistent with studies on the topic that identify a high propensity among consumers to use related technologies.
VISA includes FTX in 'fintech fast track programme'
Either way, VISA's crypto push is bullish for the industry as it pushes open the doors for crypto payments at 70 million cooperating retailers. Prabhu also sees a continuing trend among consumers to buy crypto on regulated exchanges:
"We're seeing a lot of volume in our [network] of people buying cryptocurrencies on these various regulated exchanges, and as far as we can see, that trend is continuing."
Despite the success of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (available to buy on Libertex or eToro), however, VISA has no intentions of adding cryptocurrencies to its balance sheet, Prahbu points out. It keeps currencies on its balance sheet that are needed "to run our business" - or currencies in which employees are paid. Prabhu:
"These are usually the dollar, the euro and the pound. So we have no plans to hold cryptocurrencies because that's not the typical way we get paid or how we pay our employees."
Nevertheless, a first step has already been taken - and possibly a second: the US payment processor has also announced that it is including the crypto exchange FTX in its "Fintech Fast Track Programme". This supports emerging industries such as digital wallets, financial inclusion, business-to-business (B2B) and digital currency payments.
What's an Ethereum wallet? Ethereum wallets are applications that let you interact with your Ethereum account. Think of it like an internet banking app. Wallets give access to your funds and Ethereum applications. Only you should have access to your wallet.