Coinbase has launched its own debit card in an effort to promote the use of cryptocurrencies in payments as well as investments.
Visa said on its recent earnings call that customers made $2.5 billion in payments with its crypto-linked cards in its first fiscal quarter of 2022.
This accounted for 70% of the company’s crypto volume for all of fiscal 2021.
“To us, this indicates that consumers see the value in having a Visa card linked to an account on a crypto platform. It is useful to be able to access this liquidity, fund purchases and manage expenses, and to do so instantly and seamlessly,” Visa’s chief financial officer Vasant Prabhu told CNBC in a phone interview, providing insight as the company reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue after the bell. Thursday.
“We will continue to look at the crypto space and our strategy is to be a key partner in providing the connectivity, scale, consumer value proposition, reliability and security needed for crypto offerings to continue. to grow,” said Visa CEO Al Kelly. during the earnings call, as the stock rose in after-hours trading, then opened sharply higher on Friday.
The payments company also announced that its network of crypto wallet partners is growing from 54 to over 65, including Coinbase, Circle, and BlockFi. The number of merchants accepting crypto as a means of payment has also increased to nearly 100 million.
“Looking at broad spending categories, 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 different ways – retail goods and services, restaurants, travel. They are increasingly being treated as a general purpose account,” Prabhu told CNBC.
In July, Visa reported that crypto card usage reached $1 billion for the first six months of 2021.
Mastercard and crypto exchange Gemini plan to launch a card allowing customers to earn cryptocurrency as rewards. But cardholders won’t have direct access to their digital wallet. Gemini, the crypto exchange co-founded by billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, plans to make the card available to customers on a waitlist in early 2022, following previous plans to launch over the summer. .
Major cryptocurrencies saw their rapid growth slow in the second half of last year. Bitcoin, which hit an all-time high of nearly $69,000 in November, has fallen more than 45% since then.
“We’ve seen this payout volume continue to grow despite the volatility in the crypto markets,” Prabhu said, “Crypto rewards are an important part of the value proposition for many of these card programs, especially for consumers who are new to crypto who may not invest in it directly, but are excited to have the opportunity to earn it by spending fiat [currency like the dollar]. We are monitoring these programs closely to see their impact on the awards category as a whole.”
Visa has no plans to keep cryptocurrency on its balance sheet, but it has created a crypto advisory service and made several recent investments in crypto platforms while continuing to push for adoption of cryptocurrency. digital currencies.