Visa: $1B of cryptocurrency spent on goods, services

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Over $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been spent by consumers globally in the past six months using crypto-linked Visa cards, according to a blog post by the credit card company.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
VVISA, INC.239.48-0.04-0.02%

In comparison, Visa chief financial officer Vasant Prabhu claims only a fraction of that amount of crypto-related spending occurred during the same periods last year and in 2019. 

"We are doing a lot to create an ecosystem that makes cryptocurrency more usable and more like any other currency," Prabhu told CNBC. "People are exploring ways in which they can use cryptocurrencies for things they would use normal currencies for."

Visa reportedly estimates crypto-linked cards and other digital payment systems, including biometics and QR codes, could potentially disrupt the $18 trillion spent with cash and checks globally each year. 

"There are lots of issues in terms of volatility, etc. But that’s up to the owners of cryptocurrencies to manage and track," Prabhu added.

BITCOIN PRICE ABOVE $34,000 AS PLACES ACCEPTING CRYPTOCURRENCY RISES

Visa cardholders can currently spend cryptocurrency at more than 70 million merchants globally through partnerships with 50 digital currency trading platforms, including Coinbase, Circle, BlockFi, Crypto.com and CoinZoom. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
COINCOINBASE GLOBAL, INC.237.75+2.34+0.99%

"We see a lot of volume on our [network] of people buying cryptocurrencies at these various regulated exchanges and as far as we can see that trend continues," Prabhu noted.

In addition, Visa plans to partner with billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX cryptocurrency exchange through the credit card company's Fintech Fast Track Program. FTX will pay 50% its remote employees in USD coin.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA, INC.644.27-15.31-2.32%
MSTRMICROSTRATEGY, INC.630.00-4.29-0.68%

However, unlike Tesla and MicroStrategy, Visa reportedly has no near-term plans to add cryptocurrency to its own balance sheet. 

"We don’t hold crypto currencies on our balance sheet today," Prahbu said. "We hold currencies on our balance sheet that we need to run our business. We hold currencies that we get paid in or we pay people in. That tends to be the dollar, euro, pound. So we don’t have plans to hold crypto currency because it’s not typically the way we get paid or the way we pay people." 

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As of Wednesday morning, the world's two largest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, are trading around $34,000 and $2,300 per coin, respectively, according to prices tracked by Coindesk. As of the time of publication, Bitcoin has a market cap of over $651 billion and Ethereum has a market cap of over $277 billion. 

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