Visa: $1 Billion Spent Via Crypto-Linked Cards in 2021 So Far
The age of cryptocurrency debit and credit cards is apparently upon us. According to Visa, the company is currently working with 50 cryptocurrency platforms on card programs. These cards will make it easier for consumers to convert and spend crypto with the more than 70 million merchants worldwide that accept Visa. As a result, the company says that $1 billion in goods and services have been paid for using crypto-linked cards during the first half of this year alone.
The development of several of these cards has come through Visa’s FinTech Fast Track program. What’s more, more than 25% of the startups participating in said program are working on issuing crypto-linked cards. In other Fast Track news, in their press release, Visa announced that FTX was the latest firm to join the program. They went on to note that FTX is currently paying 50% of its remote employees in the USDC stablecoin.
Speaking to Visa’s crypto ambitions, CFO Vasant Prabhu told CNBC, “We are doing a lot to create an ecosystem that makes cryptocurrency 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.” Prabhu added, “There are lots of issues in terms of volatility, etc. But that’s up to the owners of cryptocurrencies to manage and track.”
Visa’s reveal of the spending milestone comes as more crypto-centric card products are on the way, including credit cards that reward customers in Bitcoin instead of traditional cashback. In fact, BlockFi announced yesterday that it was rolling out its credit card offering to those who joined its waitlist. That card — which no longer carries an annual fee — will earn customers 1.5% back in Bitcoin for every purchase they make, with that percentage climbing to 2% when they spend at least $50,000 on the card each year. Elsewhere, Gemini is also gearing up for the debut of its crypto rewards credit card, which will earn cardholders up to 3% back on dining, 2% back on groceries, and 1% back on everything else. These rewards will be issued in real-time and will be available in Bitcoin or any of the other cryptocurrencies Gemini’s platform offers. However, while the BlockFi card will be a Visa, Gemini’s offering will operate on the Mastercard network.
Visa’s embrace of cryptocurrencies seems as though it can only be beneficial to the crypto market. While it may not be quite the same as direct acceptance, the ability for consumers to spend crypto and/or earn it as rewards makes the technology much more accessible. Plus, having a powerful partner such as Visa could prove vital as regulatory scrutiny grows. With more crypto cards coming to market soon, surely that $1 billion figure will be blown out of the water later this year, into 2022, and beyond.