What's going on?
Who said old dogs can’t learn new tricks: Visa announced on Wednesday that it’s planning to launch a cryptocurrency advisory service.
What does this mean?
Visa’s been backed up against a wall recently: young-blooded fintech firms have been putting the payments company under more and more pressure, while Amazon’s just gone and blocked UK customers from using the firm’s credit cards. That’s got Visa looking for new ways to earn a buck, and it’s landed on crypto as the solution. The company probably realizes the market’s only headed one way: one of its own studies has shown that nearly a third of participants have either invested in or made payments with crypto.
So Visa announced on Wednesday that it’s launching a crypto advisory service, which will advise everything from businesses to central banks (tweet this). And the company thinks it’s well-qualified to dole out some worldly wisdom: it processed $3.5 billion of digital currency transactions between October 2020 and September 2021, and it’s already worked with with over 60 crypto platforms.
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: Visa wants some stability in its life.
Visa did admit that payment platforms might never accept crypto as a form of payment in light of its price swings, but it’s less skeptical of stablecoins – virtual currencies that are pegged to the value of traditional currencies and are therefore less volatile. The company already accepts them as a way of settling payments, and it said it intends to go one step further by developing a range of stablecoin-focused products.
Zooming out: You can teach a new dog new tricks too.
Square is likewise leaning into crypto: the payment rival announced last week that it’s changing its name to Block – a pretty on-the-nose nod toward crypto’s underlying blockchain technology. The company’s even reportedly considering building a bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralized crypto exchange for trading bitcoin and other assets.