Visa claims Cryptocurrency-Linked Card Usage Reached $2.5B in First Quarter

Visa has no intentions to store bitcoin on its financial statements, but it has set up a crypto consultancy business and made several recent investments in virtual currencies platforms as it pushes for digital currency acceptance, reports CNBC. 

US Treasury Department To Decide Upon The Fate Of Crypto Transactions
Pexels.com

Customers used Visa’s crypto-linked cards to make $2.5 billion in transactions in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, according to the company’s latest earnings call. That accounted for 70% of the company’s total crypto volume in the fiscal year 2021.

This indicates to them that consumers value having a Visa card associated with a crypto platform account. There’s benefit in being able to rapidly and efficiently access that liquidity, make purchases, and control expenses. Vasant Prabhu, Visa’s CFO, told CNBC in a telephonic interview that the company’s results and sales were stronger than expected after the bell on Thursday.

The payments company also announced its network of crypto wallet partners is growing from 54 to more than 65, including BlockFi, Circle, and Coinbase. The number of merchants accepting crypto as payment also grew to almost 100 million.

Looking at the broad categories of spending, we don’t see the volume concentrated in a specific merchant vertical with these programs. People are using their crypto-linked cards to spend in a variety of ways — retail goods and services, restaurants, travel. They’re increasingly being treated as a general-purpose account. Prabhu told CNBC.

BlockFi, Circle, and Coinbase are among the companies that have joined the payments corporate networks of crypto wallet partners, which have grown from 54 to more than 65. The number of shops that accept cryptocurrency as payment has also increased to around 100 million.

With these programs, we don’t find the volume concentrated in a certain merchant vertical when we look at the major areas of spending. People are spending crypto-linked cards on a variety of things, including retail products and services, restaurants, and travel. They’re being treated more and more like a generic account. Prabhu stated to CNBC. Visa announced in July that crypto-linked card usage has hit $1 billion in the first half of 2021.

Mastercard and cryptocurrency exchange Gemini are collaborating on a card that will allow customers to earn cryptocurrencies as a reward. Cardholders, on the other hand, will not have direct access to their digital wallet. Following prior intentions to debut over the summer, Gemini, the crypto marketplace co-founded by entrepreneurs Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron, hopes to make the card available to users on a waitlist in early 2022.

The rapid growth of major cryptocurrencies slowed in the second part of last year. Bitcoin has lost more than 45 percent after hitting an all-time peak of about $69,000 in November.

Many of these card programs include crypto rewards as a big element of the value proposition, particularly for customers who are new to crypto and may not be explicitly investing in it but are eager for the potential to earn it while spending fiat [currency such as the dollar]. They’re keeping a careful eye on these programs to see how they affect the incentives category as a whole.