Hello and welcome to the Overbit Weekly Round-Up for this week. This week's edition will begin with a story from Visa, the global payments system. Visa announced on Wednesday that consumers worldwide spent more than $1 billion in cryptocurrency on goods and services using their crypto-linked cards in the first six months of the year.
In comparison, Visa estimated cryptocurrency spending at a fraction of that amount in the same periods last year and this year. The payments behemoth did not provide specific figures. "We are doing a lot to create an ecosystem that makes cryptocurrency more usable and more like any other currency," Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu told CNBC.
"People are exploring ways in which they can use cryptocurrencies for things they would use normal currencies for." He added, "There are lots of issues in terms of volatility, etc. But that's up to the owners of cryptocurrencies to manage and track."
According to a recent study by Visa rival Mastercard, 93 per cent of North American consumers intend to adopt bitcoin or other developing payment technology, such as biometrics, contactless, or QR code systems, in the coming year. According to the report, 75 per cent of millennials would utilise cryptocurrency if they had a better understanding of it.
"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," Prabhu stated. This summer, Mastercard will introduce a card in collaboration with Gemini's cryptocurrency exchange, which was co-founded by billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Customers will be able to earn cryptocurrency as a reward with the card.
On the other hand, cardholders will not be able to access their digital wallet on the site. Visa also announced on Wednesday that the FTX cryptocurrency platform, created by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, will be added to its Fintech Fast Track Program, which aims to make cryptocurrencies more accessible for consumer and business spending.
Circle, BlockFi, and Coinbase, which went public on the Nasdaq in April, are current Visa partners that allow cardholders to spend bitcoin wallet funds at over 70 million retailers worldwide. According to Visa, crypto-linked cards and other new payments like biometrics and QR codes have the potential to disrupt the $18 trillion spent globally on cash and cheques each year.
To close out today's edition of Overbit Weekly Round-Up, we circle in again on the massive interest in cryptocurrency markets - this time out of the UK.
According to a new survey in the United Kingdom, just under half, totalling 45% of young Britons aged 18-29, say their first-ever investment was into crypto. If that's not staggering enough, there's more: half of them openly admit to using debt to fuel the boom.
According to the survey, 23% of bitcoin investors used their credit cards to fund their purchases, while 17% used student loans and 16% used a different type of loan.
"Young adults using credit cards, student loans, and other forms of debt to invest is a worrying trend."
The survey goes into more detail on which coins these demographics favoured: Bitcoin was by far the most popular cryptocurrency, with 20% saying they had purchased Bitcoins during their investment career. This comes as a bit of surprise to some of us, as it was often said that interest in Bitcoin dwindled as more fiat on-ramps have taken off and the explosion of meme coins like Doge, Shiba and others.
The survey also zoomed out to a 10-year time horizon for their questioning, surveying what millennials preferred to store their savings in 20% of said cash, with a close second for cryptocurrencies at 16%, and stocks coming in a distant third at 14%.
All in all, this survey paints a somewhat mixed picture for the cryptocurrency markets and emerging interest. Bitcoin remains the dominant asset, one that is now often dubbed as the 'safe-haven asset, though only a tiny minority in the survey admitted to using cryptocurrency as a long-term savings vehicle. However, the volatility cannot be ignored for cryptocurrency markets as it has grown to be one of its determining characteristics.
Nevertheless, recorded interest in these markets continues to surge, a fact that cannot be disputed by almost half of the coming-of-age population in the UK at the minimum.
Thanks as always for reading Overbit Weekly Round Up. Happy weekend.