It looks like cryptocurrencies will soon experience another wave of hype. Adding Bitcoin as a payment option to all Visa cards could be a catalyst for the growth of public awareness of digital assets.
Visa CEO Alfred Kelly announced this on the air of the Leadership Next podcast the day before. According to him, the payment giant can make the cryptocurrency available to more than 70 million merchants around the world, where the issuer’s cards are accepted. Users of regular cards will be able to accept deposits and send cryptocurrencies with their instant conversion into regular currency.
Recall that popular card issuers have a difficult attitude towards cryptocurrencies. For example, at one time the CEO of Mastercard Ajay Banga called the coins «rubbish». He was primarily confused by the anonymity of blockchain assets, as well as, in some cases, the lack of information about the creator of the cryptocurrency project.
Despite this, in February 2021, the company announced the integration of coins into its payments system. However, it was not about full-fledged projects like Ethereum, Bitcoin and others, but about stablecoins – that is, cryptocurrencies, whose value is tied to fiat currencies. However, as a first step, this choice can be considered excellent.
Visa and the cryptocurrency market
Here is one of Kelly’s quotes he voiced on the air. The cue is from Decrypt.
We are trying to do two things. The first is to allow the purchase of bitcoins with Visa credentials. The second is to start working with some Bitcoin wallets to instantly convert cryptocurrencies into regular currencies.
That is, the company wants to speed up the transfer of coins to regular money for its customers. This means that in the future, working with cryptocurrencies will cease to be as difficult as it is now for most beginners.
In addition, Kelly added that the payments giant is interested in the potential of stablecoins – that is, cryptocurrencies that are tied to the value of a fiat currency. He is confident that digital assets backed by real currencies have a chance to become a full-fledged means of payment on a global scale. At the moment, Visa is actively entering into partnerships with various market players in this area. According to Kelly, the company already has partnerships with more than 35 industry startups.
Visa CEO Alfred Kelly
The head of Visa is confident that the support of Bitcoin by the payment system will be a real gift for small businesses around the world. They were the ones who most of all suffered from the economic crisis and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The addition of cryptocurrency will expand the circle of their customers and, conversely, will attract even more people to the digital asset market.
It’s time for real change, when everyone is accepted on an equal footing, without any questions.
As a reminder, this is not the first time the CEO of Visa has looked at cryptocurrencies and their potential to transform the payments industry. Last year, Kelly suggested that the financial services company «expects digital assets to operate on the Visa network on a more regular basis.» This was followed by his speech during Visa’s first quarter 2021 earnings report in January, in which Kelly emphasized that the company is «uniquely positioned to make cryptocurrencies safer, more useful and applicable for payments.»
However, so far, cryptocurrencies still raise many questions among regulators. A striking example of this is the recent incident with a banned advertisement for the services of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinfloor in one of the British news outlets. The announcement, published in the Northamptonshire Telegraph in December 2020, was seen as cheating retirees and socially irresponsible advertising, according to Cointelegraph.
Coinfloor newspaper advertisement
The ad featured a 63-year-old woman with a quote about «the pointlessness of keeping money in the bank» and «the need to convert pension to Bitcoin . » All of this was very much disliked by the UK Advertising Standards Office, which issued a ban on advertising the day before. The ad was allegedly misleading because “it did not clarify the risks associated with investing in Bitcoin, including the loss of capital. In addition, neither Coinfloor Ltd nor the crypto market is regulated in the UK.
The main message of the regulator was that Coinfloor positioned investments in crypto as fairly safe, while investments in Bitcoin are still considered one of the most risky among all types of assets.
We agree with this statement: the older generation find it difficult to understand new technologies, in addition, they are much more trusting in relation to information published in the media. For retirees, blind investments in Bitcoin can indeed result in a complete loss of capital. At the same time, the situation illustrates how early cryptocurrencies are in their development.
We believe that this innovation from Visa will make Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies significantly more popular among the general public. And although the industry has experienced several stages of massive growth, it is still far from world renown. In addition, if some people know about blockchain assets, they may be trite to be afraid to contact them due to various myths and bias.