• Visa intends to launch a cryptocurrency advisory service as adoption grows

  • As a result of the company’s recent survey, payments giant Visa is launching a global crypto advisory service.

    Visa Consulting & Analytics is launching its Global Crypto Advisory Practice (VCA).Services will include educating institutions about cryptocurrencies, as well as allowing clients to use its network for digital offerings and assisting with backend operations.

    “We came to Visa to learn more about crypto and stablecoins, as well as the use cases that are most relevant for our retail and commercial business lines,” Uma Wilson, executive vice-president at regional US lender UMB Bank, said.

    Visa highlighted the types of businesses that could benefit from its services in its announcement. Financial institutions seeking to offer cryptocurrency to retail customers, retailers interested in the potential of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and central banks developing digital currencies are examples of these (CBDCs).

    It also goes into greater detail about the services Visa could provide, such as developing concrete strategies for financial institutions after evaluating crypto opportunities, piloting new user experiences such as crypto rewards programs for retailers, or facilitating CBDC-integrated consumer wallets for central banks.

    Visa poll

    Based on data from its most recent study, Visa decided to offer these services in response to the growing interest in cryptocurrencies around the world. According to the findings of “The Crypto Phenomenon: Consumer Attitudes & Usage,” approximately 94 percent of survey respondents were aware of cryptocurrencies. Almost one-third of them already own or use cryptocurrency, and 62 percent said their use has increased in the last year.

    Emerging markets have been even more enthusiastic about cryptocurrency, with 37% of crypto-aware consumers using or owning cryptocurrency, compared to 29% in developed markets. Building wealth (41 percent) and participating in the “financial way of the future” are key motivators for them (42 percent ).

    As cryptocurrency adoption grows, so does the demand for its use in transactions. To that end, 81% of cryptocurrency owners expressed interest in crypto-linked cards, which allow them to spend cryptocurrency at retailers. Similarly, another 84 percent expressed an interest in earning cryptocurrency rewards.

    One metric most likely influenced Visa’s decision to begin offering crypto services. In the next 12 months, 18% of survey respondents said they would switch to a bank that offered crypto-related products. In emerging markets, the figure rises to 24%, while among cryptocurrency holders, it nearly doubles to 40%.

    Visa and cryptocurrency

    Visa currently provides digital currency custody and trading services via its network. It made headlines earlier this year when it announced that it would accept USD Coin as payment for transactions on its payments network. Visa then partnered with BlockFi to launch a crypto rewards card, while also announcing that customers using its cryptocurrency-linked credit and debit cards had spent more than $1 billion by July.

    According to Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu, greater price stability will be required for cryptocurrencies to be used more as a medium of exchange. “If the price fluctuates from $60,000 to $50,000 in a matter of hours, it’s extremely difficult for a merchant to accept (bitcoin) as a currency.” “I’m not sure if cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will ever be used as a means of exchange,” Prabhu said. “Stablecoins definitely will.”

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