Visa has announced that cryptocurrency-related card usage has surpassed $1 billion in the first half of 2021. “We are doing a lot to create an ecosystem where cryptocurrencies are used as much as any other currency,” Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu told CNBC.
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Visa said today that in the first six months of the year, more than $1 billion in cryptocurrencies was spent by consumers worldwide on goods and services via cryptocurrency-linked cards. By comparison, Visa had estimated spending on cryptocurrencies in the same periods last year and in 2019 as only a small fraction of that amount. But the payments giant has not released the exact figures.
Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu told CNBC:
According to recent research from Visa rival Mastercard, 93% of North American consumers plan to use cryptocurrencies and other emerging payment technologies such as contactless or QR code systems in the next year. The study also showed that 75% of millennials could use cryptocurrency if they understood it better.
“We are seeing a lot of volume in our network of people buying cryptocurrency on various regulated exchanges and as far as we can see this trend continues,” Prabhu said.
This summer, Mastercard will launch a card with Gemini, the crypto exchange co-founded by billionaires Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. The card will allow consumers to earn cryptocurrencies as rewards. However, cardholders will not be allowed to access their digital wallets through the site.
Visa also announced that the FTX cryptocurrency platform, founded by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, will be added to its Fintech Fast Track Program, which is focused in part on making cryptocurrencies more practical for consumer and business spending.
Circle, BlockFi and Coinbase are current Visa partners that allow cardholders to spend from cryptocurrency wallets of over 70 million traders worldwide.