Visa Crypto Cards Have Racked Up $1B in Spending in 2021

Visa’s crypto-related cards saw a billion dollars of spending activity in the first half of 2021, the company announced Wednesday.

The billion-dollar mark isn’t entirely made up of consumers spending cryptocurrency. Some transactions are tied to fiat accounts but result in crypto rewards; some are indeed crypto transactions. The payments giant didn’t provide a breakdown. 

It’s the latest outcome from Visa’s partnerships with more than 50 crypto firms that have launched cards with the payment giant. The company’s crypto card program is part of a larger push that Visa is making to merge the crypto world with traditional banks that includes adding stablecoins to Visa’s payments network and plugging banks into cryptocurrency buy and sell features. 

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“We think the first piece of this is being the bridge between the crypto wallets and our existing network of merchants,” Cuy Sheffield, the head of crypto at Visa, told CoinDesk in an interview, adding:

“Then the next part is making it easier for our clients to issue and interact with those cards with things like being able to settle USDC. Then we’re starting to spend a lot of time around how Visa can be a bridge between our existing network of financial institutions and the crypto ecosystem.”

Visa powers both cards that allow consumers to easily convert crypto to fiat and spend it as well as cards that allow them to spend fiat and earn crypto as rewards.

Crypto lender BlockFi’s crypto rewards credit card is an example of the latter. It launched for the public on Tuesday with users getting 1.5% back in bitcoin on every transaction among other benefits. FTX will be an example of the former, as it joins the Visa Fast Track Program and launches a crypto card of its own, Visa also announced on Wednesday.   

Related: Visa, PayPal Join Crypto VC Blockchain Capital’s New $300M Fund

Visa’s crypto-related cards business is dwarfed by the overall amount consumers spend with Visa cards, which is more than $11 trillion in a year, according to Sheffield. The growth in crypto cards represents the establishment of a new category of spending, he said.

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