Hello, and welcome to another edition of Overbit Insights.
Just one month ago, we reported the huge news in the cryptocurrency industry that payment-processing giant Mastercard was working on integrating cryptocurrency payments even more so throughout their system, rolling out crypto-to-crypto transactions for its merchants (where they previously converted the crypto into fiat at point of sale).
As is typical in the cryptocurrency industry, news and players move fast, and this case is no exception. Just over 30 days after the Mastercard news, Visa CEO Al Kelly announced that Visa was "working with some bitcoin wallets to allow bitcoin to be translated into a fiat currency and therefore immediately be able to be used at any of the 70 million places around the world where Visa is accepted," according to Bitcoin.com.
These comments were prompted by the recent meteoric rise for Bitcoin, which he was asked about on the Leadership Next podcast with Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt. CEO Kelly was quite clear on his comments, separating cryptocurrency out into two 'baskets', in his perspective: one is the speculative, more investment-based side like Bitcoin and other speculative assets.
The other, in Kelly's opinion, is the digital currency side, which he seemed to be a lot more optimistic about." There, we see a strong potential for those to become a new payment vehicle. In fact, it could be an accelerant in some of the emerging markets as we look around the world," Kelly said. According to Kelly, the work Visa is doing in the digital currency side seems quite extensive, saying that Visa is working with up to 35 different "players" or companies/projects in the arena, all of whom are presumably vying for dominance in an uber-competitive landscape.
Only time will tell which projects win out on the currency side of things, but it's safe to say that the major players like Visa are clearly betting on the entire industry's long-term growth given the number of groups they're working with. Interacting with 35 different players in the arena indicates the cryptocurrency industry has a long way to go before any clear winners are chosen.
Heading into our next story, the infamous stock trading app, RobinHood's CEO Vlad Tenev, announced a massive hiring spree to expand their cryptocurrency trading operations. "We're actually growing our crypto team hugely this year," Tenev said during a virtual "fireside chat", posted to YouTube on Thursday. Tenev continued by stating, "The business has just been going through exponential growth. We really hit an inflexion point this year."
To quantify the scope of demand, more than 6 million new customers traded cryptocurrency for the first time on Robinhood from the start of the year through mid-February, according to Tenev.
"As much as people are bugging me on that on social media, I'm bugging our crypto team and our software engineers, so we're going to try to get that done as fast as possible," Tenev said. He wants to make sure the platform is more reliable before these new features are rolled out.
It seems like every week, more and more entrants are expanding their crypto operations, and these are a sign of the times of the crypto bull market that many have been waiting on for years. As always, thanks for reading Overbit Insights! Here at Overbit.com, we will continue to deliver the news that matters the most in markets.