New Delhi: Visa, the global pioneer in digital payments, has launched Visa's Global Crypto Advisory to assist clients and partners in their crypto journeys.
The case for cryptocurrency is becoming more compelling for financial institutions. According to new worldwide data, nearly 40 per cent of crypto owners would switch primary banks to one that offers crypto products.
NDTV spoke to Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto, visa, world's largest payment processor, on the launch of a global advisory service for banks and merchants.
Here are the edited excerpts of the interview:
You described Crypto as a 'cool' asset, what made you say so?
Crypto sits at the intersection of commerce and culture and it does so in a fascinating way.
While crypto wallets were initially used primarily to store cryptocurrencies, people are now using them for things like discovering new music or art. Crypto wallets increasingly have the potential to become a super app, ingrained in consumers' daily lives.
NFTs are another exciting aspect of the crypto ecosystem that we're tracking closely at Visa. NFTs have the potential to become a powerful accelerator for the creator economy and lower the barrier to entry for individual creatives to earn a living through digital commerce.
NFTs could also fuel small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in powerful new ways. The rise of e-commerce has made it possible for SMBs to sell online and reach customers around the globe. But they still have to produce and ship physical goods, which can have high upfront costs. NFTs allow small businesses to harness public blockchains for producing digital goods—which can be delivered instantly to a crypto wallet. We can envision a future in which your crypto address becomes as important as your mailing address.
How do you see Crypto and its adoption?
At Visa, the scale and scope of our work in crypto has grown dramatically. The number of people cross-functionally at Visa working on crypto in some capacity is now in the hundreds – up from just a handful of employees. And we've more than doubled our number of partnerships with crypto platforms in the last 18 months – up to 60 partnerships today.
Over the last few years, we've also seen our clients' outlook on crypto evolve, from skepticism, to awareness, to an understanding that crypto will likely impact their existing business in some way.
We wanted to get a better understanding of how consumers think and feel about crypto, which is why we fielded a global study on consumer perceptions. The findings showed near-universal awareness of crypto, and that a significant portion of respondents (nearly one-third) have used crypto, either as an investment tool or as a medium of exchange.
Crypto is not simply a technological phenomenon or an asset class. It's also deeply cultural. Many consumers believe that there is a movement underfoot and crypto will be a part of the future of money.
Visa purchased CryptoPunk NFT for $150000. What role will NFT's play?
We believe that NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment and commerce. We see a significant interest from merchants, brands, and content platforms looking to participate in the NFT-commerce ecosystem.
But it's necessary to understand what it takes to acquire, custody and interact with an NFT, from the infrastructure requirements to the actual transactions to the storage, before enterprises can really understand how to sell NFTs or bring to market NFT-enabled products.
Our CryptoPunk purchase helped us build that ground-up understanding. Because we've engaged directly with the NFT ecosystem, we are better prepared to help our partners understand the NFT ecosystem so they can start thinking about ways to engage in the growing crypto economy.
Do you plan to launch Visa Crypto consulting services in India?
Visa aims to provide our crypto advisory services to clients globally wherever there is interest, and currently, we offer services in markets where the regulations permit such transactions.
In the last 1 year Visa has processed more than $3 billion worth of digital transactions, what are the future plans?
To clarify, the $3.5 billion represents cumulative spending on Visa's crypto-linked card programs. That's a small portion of total spend on Visa cards, but when you consider that these programs didn't exist in a meaningful way a year ago, it's an indication that they're starting to gain traction.
At the end of the day, we want to serve as a bridge connecting the crypto ecosystem with our global network of 80 million merchant locations and more than 15,000 financial institutions.
We've built a lot of momentum in this space, and we'll continue to support the crypto ecosystem in several ways – by making it simple for consumers to use Visa for purchasing or cashing-out their digital currencies; bringing new infrastructure capabilities and crypto value-added services to our clients and partners; advancing original research and collaboration on future CBDC use cases, and supporting the emerging NFT economy.
How do Crypto Linked debit cards work?
Crypto-linked cards make it easy for consumers to convert and spend digital currencies, without requiring coffee shops, dry cleaners, or grocery stores to directly accept crypto at the checkout. All the conversions from crypto to fiat happen instantly, behind the scenes. In-store, online, it's as easy as a standard Visa transaction. Consumers that want to use crypto have the opportunity to convert and spend their digital currency while going about their everyday activities.
We've partnered with more than 60 of the leading crypto platforms, like FTX, BlockFi, Crypto.com, Coinbase, and Binance, to launch card programs that make it easy for consumers to convert and spend digital currency at 80 million merchant locations worldwide.