A Visa payment card placed on a computer keyboard.
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visa Even though cryptocurrency prices have plummeted this year, we are betting that crypto investors will still want to use digital currencies.
The payments giant has partnered with global exchange FTX to offer debit cards in 40 countries, mostly in Latin America, Asia and Europe. Cards already available in the US will be linked directly to the user’s FTX cryptocurrency investment account. According to Visa’s CFO, the move will allow customers to use their digital currency “just like they would any other bank account” without having to move it out of the exchange.
“Even though the value has fallen, interest in cryptocurrencies is still stable,” Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu told CNBC in a phone interview. “We don’t take a position as a company on what the value of cryptocurrencies should be or whether it’s a good thing in the long run. We want to promote the
The deal comes as a price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have halved from all-time highs in November. As of Friday morning, Bitcoin is trading near $20,000, down 57% from January.
Its Visa’s latest foray into space adds to its 70+ crypto partnerships.The San Francisco-based company is already joining forces It competes with FTX competitors Coinbase and Binance. Rival Mastercard has a similar partnership. partnership Powered by NFT and Bakkt’s Coinbase let Banks and merchants within its network offer crypto-related services. American Express says it is considering using cards and networks with stablecoins that are pegged at a $1 price. But the CEO said earlier this year that consumers shouldn’t expect him to see cards linked to Amex crypto.”in a few days.”
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried acknowledges the irony of these partnerships. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were originally designed to circumvent banks and intermediaries. However, banks and payment companies are suddenly embracing the technology as cryptocurrencies become mainstream and contribute to increased payment volumes.
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told CNBC by phone. “There are decisions you have to make as a traditional payments company. Do you want to commit to this or do you want to fight it? I respect the fact that many of them are committed to it.”
Bankman-Fried also said enabling card payments is key to market growth beyond speculative assets and stores of value. A partnership with Visa allows merchants to easily accept cryptocurrencies without having to set up their own technology, Visa and his FTX converts on the backend. As Prabhu says, “everything happens behind the scenes.”
Both executives said the biggest opportunities lie in emerging markets, where currency volatility and inflation make access to digital assets more attractive. Respectively.
“A lot of things like these are potentially cool and valuable in the US, but even more so globally,” said Bankman-Fried. “It’s where you find very poor alternatives to payment rails and very high demand for the better.”
Visa’s Prabhu pointed to the demand for stablecoins that track the price of the dollar or other fiat currencies. The CFO said he often sees people opening accounts to hold cryptocurrencies and “using them like they would a bank account.”
Despite mainstream adoption and the adoption of the technology by Fortune 500 companies like Visa, the industry has had several high-profile explosions this year. Lenders Celsius and Voyager filed for bankruptcy after freezing withdrawals, and the failure of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital wiped billions of dollars from the market in a matter of days. His CFO of Visa says so far the company has managed to avoid exposure to the cryptocurrency crisis.
“Nothing is without risk. I’ve been doing it.”