• Visa is partnering with over 50 crypto companies to allow clients to spend digital currencies.
  • This means clients can buy from any merchant accepting Visa, even those who do not accept crypto.
  • More than R14 billion was spent on crypto-linked Visa cards in the first half of 2021.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Visa on Wednesday announced that it is partnering with over 50 cryptocurrency companies to allow clients to spend and convert digital currencies through its card program.

The partnership will make it easy for clients to convert and spend digital currencies at 70 million merchants worldwide, even those that do not accept digital assets.

"The merchants don't have to change anything," Cuy Sheffield, Visa's head of cryptocurrency, said. "It will be the same as any other Visa transaction to them. But on the backend, the crypto assets are instantly converted into fiat."

"You have this growing number of consumers with assets on crypto platforms, trading crypto, holding crypto - and then you have millions of merchants who don't really understand crypto. They don't want to have to update their point of sales and terminals and figure out what a blockchain is," he said.

Among the features being offered - though it will depend on the cryptocurrency platform - is letting users spend fiat and earn cryptocurrencies as a reward, similar to how users can accrue cash back, airline miles, or hotel points.

Sheffield also said that with more than $1 billion (R14 billion) spent on crypto-linked Visa cards in the first half of 2021, he is optimistic there is more to unlock.

On March 29, the payments firm announced that it will enable the use of USD Coin to settle payment transactions on its platform. Visa piloted the payment option via the payment platform Crypto.com and digital asset bank Anchorage.

"We should be able to support a digital fiat currency and convert between the digital version and the traditional version of a fiat currency," he said.

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