In the first half of 2021, more than US$1 billion was spent on crypto-linked Visa cards. As crypto-linked cards see continued growth, Visa had struck strategic partnerships with over 50 cryptocurrency platforms and exchanges, therefore, allowing end-users to spend their digital currencies at more than 70 million merchants globally using the crypto-linked cards. Some of its cryptocurrency platform partners include FTX and Coinbase, allowing Visa users to spend and convert digital currencies through its card program.
The innovative card program launched by Visa comes at a crucial time when a growing number of consumers are buying, trading, and holding digital assets on crypto platforms. However, there are millions of merchants who do not understand cryptocurrency. Therefore, offering a solution that does not require merchants to update their point of sale and terminals provides an innovative way to trade digital assets.
Partnerships with cryptocurrency platforms and exchanges will help merchants not to deal directly with cryptocurrencies. Instead, the end-user uses the tap and go feature as usual, whereas there is no need to create new acceptance points or hold cryptographic keys on the merchant side. For the merchants, it will be the same as any other Visa-related transaction.
Innovative reward programs to drive adoption among consumers
Globally, the demand for loyalty and reward programs is rising. Consequently, companies are adding such features to their product offerings to attract more consumers. According to Visa, the firm has developed a rewards program that mimics the cashback rewards or airline miles programs that increase stores of value as members spend money. For instance, Bitcoin rewards programs are offered through the BlockFi Crypto Credit Card, where users can earn Bitcoin on every purchase. Notably, the perks are transferred back to the users' accounts that the firm holds.
Moreover, the company is expected to launch other programs with similar mechanisms, allowing consumers a low-risk way to open up a brokerage account and build Bitcoin holdings by simply buying coffee. PayNXT360 expects by combining engagement in the crypto economy through a standard Visa card, these innovative reward programs can win long-lasting customers while building loyalty among both crypto enthusiasts and new adopters.
Stable coins and CBDCs
A similar move from Visa follows the strategic partnership with more than 50 cryptocurrency platforms and exchanges in March 2021, where the firm enabled USD Coin to settle transactions. Notably, these settlements were done in tandem with Anchorage, a digital-only bank, and Crypto.com.
PayNXT360 expects that these two announcements from Visa show the growing support for digital currencies from the company. While there is not much demand to accept crypto and stable coins as payment from merchants, Visa believes that the demand will come sooner rather than later. Therefore, these announcements and partnerships provide them the rails to support that demand.
Additionally, stable coins are also finding significant traction on the commercial front. The partnership of Visa with Circle is enabling B2B payments as an alternative to ACH and checks in the nearly US$120 trillion market. Turning to CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currency), central banks and governments effectively created stable coins for fiat reserve. Therefore, it can be projected that Visa to play a crucial role in both of these areas.
The growing desire to spend cryptocurrencies
There is a growing desire among consumers to spend their cryptocurrencies on everyday purchases. According to Visa, the company has witnessed growing daily spending on crypto-related cards primarily driven by young millennials. PayNXT360 expects the growing spending on crypto-linked cards, which has topped more than US$1 billion, is pointing towards the momentum of what the future holds for card payment companies like Visa.