Cryptocurrency adoption and usage has been increasing steadily over the last 12 months, in line with the increase in price of various tokens, to the point where crypto payments are now becoming a part of mainstream market transactions. Various large corporations and networks in the payment processing space, and elsewhere, have begun using cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks, and this has meant that access to crypto has increased through these platforms. PayPal, for example, one of the biggest payment platforms in the world, now supports crypto transactions for users in the United States, with this function set to be rolled out to the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe soon. Big banks such as JPMorgan, BNY Mellon and Morgan Stanley are setting up teams to look into crypto investments, while Tesla, the electric and autonomous car maker, recently announced that it had bought $1.5 billion of Bitcoin as part of its cash reserve, while Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, also tweeted that users can now purchase their Tesla cars through Bitcoin. All of these examples point towards a growing trend of crypto usage and acceptance on Wall Street and elsewhere, and the latest to jump on this bandwagon is the payments giant Visa, which is beginning to allow crypto payments to be settled on its payments network.
According to recent reports, Visa will now begin to allow settlements of the crypto token USD Coin to take place on its network, through a pilot project with the crypto platform Crypto.com. This option will soon be made available to more partners later this year and is yet another sign that crypto is becoming part of the mainstream finance and payments ecosystem. USD Coin is a cryptocurrency whose value is pegged directly to the US dollar, and Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency in the world, rose by nearly 9% on the back of this news, as it signals a growing acceptance of crypto in the payments platform space. Visa already offers a card for crypto users in partnership with Crypto.com, but at the moment, transactions made through the card require the cryptocurrency to be converted into fiat money for the payment to be processed. The crypto wallet deposits fiat currency into a bank account which is then wired to Visa at the end of the business day for settling transactions, which adds time, cost and complexity to these settlements. Now, however, this additional step has been removed, with transactions using the USD Coin being settled immediately on Visa’s network, which uses the Ethereum blockchain.
This is a big step forward for the crypto industry, as seamless payment settlements will make it much cheaper and easier for businesses to adopt crypto into their payment processes. There are various sectors which have done so already, with the online gambling sector being one of the best examples. Online casinos have been offering users the option to place bets through cryptocurrencies for years now, and so, casino site accepting crypto as a payment method has been attracting many new customers and increasing revenue from existing users as a result.Various online gaming platforms have also been moving towards crypto – Steam, which is the largest digital game library in the world, has been accepting Bitcoin as a payment method since 2013, while Microsoft is also now allowing users to pay via Bitcoin for various online Xbox services and features.
With the likes of Visa and Mastercard beginning to process crypto transactions on their networks, we can expect to see more and more businesses offer crypto payment options to their users, as it becomes more cost-effective and convenient for them to do so.