More people are exploring ways in which they can use cryptocurrencies for things they would use other national currencies, and for this reason, Visa – the global payment service, is doubling down on crypto by making it more accessible and easy to use for ordinary consumers. The company has announced plans to link its payment network of 60 million merchants to the USDC stablecoin developed by Center, the consortium founded by Circle and Coinbase.
Visa Chief Finance Officer Vasant Prabhu told CNBC that a massive $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency was used to buy goods and services in the past six months. This is through cryptocurrency cards linked to the Visa network.
“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,” he said.
The company also said it is partnering with 50 crypto company including BlockFi to allow people to spend cryptocurrency on every day purchases. According to him, the company wants to be able to do this.
He said although the company holds fiat Euro, Pound, and dollar currencies on its balance sheet to run business, it does not intend to hold cryptocurrencies though.
“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,” he said.
Visa and MasterCard-enabled crypto cards allow people to buy cryptocurrencies instantly or to spend them at retail shops and ATMs where those services are supported. It is a competition for the two in a growing market. The problem is usually the fees which are in the ranges of over 3% per transaction.
If you would count the number of crypto plastic and virtual payment cards linked to Visa and MasterCard, the number has been growing over the years. The most common on the list would be Crypto.com, BitPay, and Circle. Crypto.com, for instance, now lets more than 10 million users buy and sell more than 100 cryptocurrencies at true cost, using Crypto.com Visa Card.
BitPay is regarded as the largest cryptocurrency payment network with over $5 billion worth of transactions carried out through the network since starting in June 2011. Using its MasterCard-linked service, customers can buy goods and services and pay in crypto in thousands of businesses and merchants across the world including Microsoft, ATT, WeWork, Camping World, Newegg, and Jomashop.com. The company recently partnered with Circle to allow 10 million customers to buy crypto.
“BitPay sees a different future for payments and is building blockchain-based payment technology solutions to transform how businesses and people send, receive, and store money around the world,” said Stephen Pair, co-founder and CEO of BitPay during their last month’s birthday commemoration.
MasterCard plans to launch a credit card this summer in partnership with U.S.-based Gemini crypto exchange, and Gemini founders hinted at this during the Bitcoin 2021 event in Miami.