The Visa logo displayed on a smartphone with a bitcoin logo in the background.
Rafael Henrique | SOPA Pictures | LightRocket | Getty Images
Visa is launching new advisory and advisory services to help clients navigate the cryptocurrency world.
The payment processor said on Wednesday that its crypto consulting practice, housed within its consulting and analytics division, will provide advice to financial institutions, retailers and other businesses on everything from feature deployment from cryptography to the exploration of non-fungible tokens.
Visa has named US bank UMB as a client that already uses its crypto advisory services.
The move marks Visa’s latest attempt to deepen the crypto industry. From October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021, the company processed $ 3.5 billion in digital currency transactions through its crypto-linked card schemes, according to Nikola Plecas, Visa’s European crypto manager.
“Some of these major exchanges have millions or in some cases tens of millions of users,” Plecas told CNBC, adding that the company allows users to spend their crypto at more than 80 million merchants.
The company is also developing products geared towards stablecoins – virtual tokens tied to the value of sovereign currencies, typically the dollar – and digital currencies issued by the central bank.
Visa hopes its crypto consultancy can help drive the widespread adoption of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Like its rival Mastercard, the credit card giant sees cryptocurrency as a key growth opportunity as it extends beyond card payments.
Major payment networks have faced increased competition from an influx of new financial entrants in recent years. Emerging trends such as open banking, which aims to open up consumers’ banking information and payment capabilities to competing fintechs, threaten to disrupt their business model.
Meanwhile, Visa is also coming under pressure from big tech companies. Amazon announced last month that it would stop accepting Visa credit cards in the UK due to the company’s “high fees”. The e-commerce titan has taken similar action against Visa in Australia and Singapore.
“Crypto is a huge new vertical and growth opportunity for us. And we will continue to focus on growing this business going forward,” Plecas said.
A study released by Visa on Wednesday indicated that 94% of people now have some level of knowledge of crypto, while nearly a third have used it as an investment or medium of exchange. More than 6,000 people worldwide were surveyed for the research, which was conducted in partnership with marketing services firm LRW.