Visa announced on Wednesday that it is creating a cryptocurrency advice service to assist clients in navigating the world of cryptocurrencies. The payment processor is hoping to help Bitcoin and other digital currencies gain traction in the mainstream. As they expand outside card payments, Visa and its rival Mastercard see crypto as a crucial growth prospect.
Visa launches crypto consulting services
Visa is launching new counseling and guidance services to help its customers navigate the world of Bitcoin. The payments processor announced on Wednesday that its crypto advisory practice, which is part of its consulting and analytics division, will provide guidance to financial institutions, retailers, and other businesses on everything from implementing crypto features to investigating non-fungible tokens. As a client of UMB, an American bank, Visa’s crypto advising services were found.
Visa’s action is the company’s latest attempt to expand its presence in the cryptocurrency market. From October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021, Visa processed $3.5 billion in digital currency transactions through its crypto-linked card schemes, according to Nikola Plecas, Visa’s European crypto lead.
Plecas told CNBC that “some of these top exchanges have millions or tens of millions of users,” and that the company allows customers to spend their crypto at over 80 million merchants.
Stablecoins — virtual tokens connected to the value of sovereign currencies, primarily the dollar — and central bank-issued digital currencies are also being developed by the company.
Visa believes that its cryptocurrency consulting services will help Bitcoin and other digital currencies become more widespread. The credit card company, like rival Mastercard, sees cryptocurrency as a critical growth opportunity as it expands outside card payments.
In recent years, major payment networks have experienced greater competition from a slew of new financial start-ups. Emerging trends like open banking, which aims to provide competitor fintechs access to consumer bank information and payment capabilities, threaten to upend their business model.
Meanwhile, huge tech businesses are putting pressure on Visa. Due to the company’s “excessive costs,” Amazon announced last month that it will no longer accept Visa credit cards in the United Kingdom. In Australia and Singapore, the e-commerce behemoth has taken similar actions against Visa.
“Crypto is a massive new vertical and growth opportunity for us.” Plecas added, “We will continue to focus on building this business moving ahead”. According to a report issued by Visa on Wednesday, 94 percent of people are now aware of cryptocurrency, and nearly a third have used it as an investment or medium of trade. The study, which was performed in collaboration with marketing services firm LRW, polled over 6,000 people throughout the world.
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