Financial service and payment processing giant Visa has released a statement that card spending for crypto-related transactions spiked within the first half of this year.
According to a recent report published by CNBC, Visa users spent more than $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency assets globally on goods and services through their crypto-linked cards from January to June 2021. Vasant Prabhu, CFO at Visa corroborated this claim when he highlighted the fact that cardholders’ interest in Bitcoin and other digital currencies has continued to grow since the beginning of this year.
According to Prabhu,
“We are doing a lot to create an ecosystem that makes cryptocurrency assets 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. There are lots of issues in terms of volatility, etc. But, that’s up to the owners of digital currencies to manage and track. We see a lot of volume on our [network] of people buying cryptocurrencies at these various regulated exchanges and as far as we can see that trend continues.”
The US-based company stated that it is planning to create an ecosystem to increase the usage of cryptocurrency assets. Visa’s CEO, Al Kelly earlier in the year in a podcast session with Fortune Leadership revealed its plans for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
While retail investors demonstrate a surging interest in cryptocurrencies, digital currencies have continued to remain appealing for the institutional sector as well. From Microstrategy to Tesla and big hedge funds bosses like Ray Dalio, Druckenmiller etc. top companies have continued to throw their weights around Bitcoin most especially.
Visa’s CFO cleared the air around the addition of Bitcoin to its balance sheets. Prabhu dismissed any speculations that Visa holds Bitcoin or any other digital asset for that matter. According to him,
“We don’t hold cryptocurrencies on our balance sheet today. We hold currencies on our balance sheet that we need to run our business. 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.”
The recent heightened usage of cards for crypto-related transactions represents a net positive for the industry. For instance, even DeFi platforms and a non-custodial solution like Plasma.Finance integrated fiat on/off ramps right out the gate, enabling users to buy and sell 53 digital assets using Visa/Mastercard as well as bank wire.
Mastercard has also expressed its readiness to further crypto growth through its network. In February, it published a piece on why it is bringing crypto onto its network. For Mastercard, it’s about giving users the freedom of choice they deserve. It says it wants to
“Enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value – traditional or crypto – however they want. It should be your choice, it’s your money.”
In April, the card issuer teamed up with Gemini, a regulated cryptocurrency exchange by the Winklevoss twins to launch a crypto rewards credit card.