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The big picture: The beauty of what Visa is offering with its card program is the fact that everyday merchants like grocery stores and coffee shops don’t have to directly accept cryptocurrencies to do business with those holding digital currency. So long as they accept Visa cards, which some 70 million merchants worldwide now do, they’re good to go.
Visa has announced a partnership with 50 of the top crypto platforms, including Coinbase, FTX and CoinZoom, that’ll make it easier for users to convert and spend their digital currency at millions of merchants around the globe.
“It will be the same as any other Visa transaction to them,” Visa crypto boss Cuy Sheffield told Business Insider. “But on the backend, the crypto assets are instantly converted into fiat.”
Crypto is increasingly being used not only as a store of value, but as tradeable currency. In the first half of 2021 alone, Visa said more than $1 billion was spent on crypto-linked Visa cards. Furthermore, a quarter of the companies participating in Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program are working to issue Visa plastic linked to a crypto platform.
“You have this growing number of consumers with assets on crypto platforms, trading crypto, holding crypto - and then millions of merchants who don't really understand crypto. They don't want to have to update their point of sales and terminals and figure out what a blockchain is.” – Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto.
One of the perks that Visa highlighted is a rewards program that allows consumers to spend fiat and earn crypto rewards, similar to how traditional rewards programs issue airline miles or hotel points for spending money. Visa believes such a program could help it win long-term customer loyalty among both new and seasoned crypto enthusiasts.