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Digital Yuan Gets Added To WeChat As Work On CBDCs Continues
WeChat, owned by Tencent and China's most popular messaging app as well as one of the nation's biggest payment platforms, has announced plans of supporting China's sovereign digital currency, the digital Yuan.
China had begun working on the digital yuan all the way back in 2014, but it has yet to be implemented on a nation-wide scale. However, WeChat's decision to allow the digital currency, which has since garnered more than 1 billion users to date, might provide it with a significant boost if the country' citizens start utilising it for various payments and transactions on a regular basis.
What is WeChat?
WeChat could very well be unfamiliar to consumers beyond China's borders, but it is pervasive within the world's second-biggest economy. As it incorporates several services, WeChat is often referred to as a kind of 'all-in one app', mainly because it allows users to take advantage of various chat functions in addition to using WeChat Pay to make all kinds of purchases as well as hail cabs, taxis and even order meals. WeChat Pay lets customers pay for things in-store by showing merchants a barcode via their smartphones. WeChat Pay has even managed to gain nearly 800 million active monthly users. Adding digital Yuan capabilities would therefore seem like a no-brainer.
Even now, the PBoC (People's Bank of China), which is responsible for issuing the digital Yuan, also referred to as e-CNY, has conducted limited experiments in specific locations through lotteries during which the central bank has distributed modest quantities of the nation's currency to certain residents. With that being said, despite the lack of a specific time frame for a statewide deployment, there would appear to be several indicators which suggest that the PBoC is aiming to extend the use of the digital Yuan.
The PBOC has thus created an e-CNY app for consumers in specific Chinese provinces and localities. All residents living in those locations shall be able to download and subsequently sign up to utilise the digital Yuan as a result. In the past, the users were only allowed access to the app through invitation.
CBDCs Vs Crypto
It is no secret that the increased usage and popularity of cryptocurrencies has prompted governments and regulatory agencies all over the world to come up with a counter to these new digital assets, and this answer arrived in the form of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Despite many countries already working on their own respective CBDCs, China would nonetheless almost always be at the forefront of the conversation, as it was the Chinese government which had decided to put an all end to all crypto-based activities within the country last year, which also involved the shutting down of various mining operations and nation-wide crackdowns that resulted in many local crypto enthusiasts, traders and investors being forced to flee the country and Bitcoin's hash rate being adversely affected.
Ultimately, it is unclear as to how successful CBDCs will be in the future as certain nations have elected to opt for cryptocurrencies instead and we need only look at El Salvador officially making Bitcoin (BTC) legal tender for proof of this. Still, the work around the digital Yuan should not be ignored, as the usage of e-CNY could have great potential as we draw closer to the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, which is an event that has also caused some controversy as it had been reported that all visiting teams will be required to use the digital Yuan with seemingly little to no choice.
Samsung Goes All In On Crypto, NFTs and The Metaverse
In what continues to become the months hottest story, Samsung has made multiple announcements pertaining to cryptocurrencies, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and even the metaverse itself. As the cryptocurrency and DeFi sector continues to gain more traction and mainstream adoption, many were pleasantly surprised at the revelation that Samsung looks to become increasingly involved with this industry, and whether this could potentially open the doors for even more companies to enter it as well in the foreseeable future.
NFT Aggregation Platform
To begin with, the new Samsung smart TVs will include a built-in, user-friendly NFT platform that shall allow customers to explore and trade digital works from the comfort of their sofas. The company revealed its intentions to launch a new smart TV series with integrated NFT functionality, allowing users to browse, purchase, sell, and show content through a tailored platform.
Customers will reportedly be allowed to explore as well as purchase NFTs directly from their TVs via the new NFT Aggregation Platform, which shall be available on Samsungs MicroLed, Neo QLED, and The Frame models. The site imports NFTs from other marketplaces, enabling visitors to view the art and find other relevant details like who created the piece alongside important blockchain metadata.
Furthermore, those who already own NFTs can use the site to exhibit their collection. According to Samsung, its Smart Calibration technology will be able to automatically alter the televisions settings to properly match the original creators standards, guaranteeing that the image is delivered as accurately as possible via the TV.
Aside from NFTs, Samsung has also partnered up with Veritree through which the electronics manufacturer will gain access to the Cardano (ADA) blockchain. The collaboration is part of Samsungs land restoration initiatives, and also gives the corporation access to not just Cardano, but the wider blockchain sector.
In 2022s first quarter, 2 million trees shall be planted as a result of the collaboration. As part of the companys commitment to mitigate the consequences of climate change, mangrove trees will be planted in Madagascar. Planting these trees would appear to be a smart move since they store ten times more carbon than other tropical forest plants, according to the latest reports.
Moreover, Cardano and Veritree have been working together for quite some time, with Veritrees own verification records pertaining to reforestation being maintained on the blockchain. This subsequently allows for the certification of data from planting locations and the linking of every contribution to the area it helped repair.
Entering the Metaverse
As if that werent enough, Samsung has also entered the metaverse sector through a partnership with Decentraland (MANA), an Ethereum-oriented virtual reality platform. In Decentraland, the company has hence built a digital counterpart of its real-world flagship 837 store. The actual store is located at 837 Washington Street in Manhattans Meatpacking District whereas the virtual store, known as the Samsung 837X, shall be available in Decentraland for a short period.
According to Samsung representatives, this is one of the biggest and most significant brand land takeovers in Decentraland history. "The metaverse enables its users to go beyond physical and geographical constraints in order to create innovative, unique and memorable digital experiences which would not be possible otherwise," stated Michelle Crossan-Matos, Samsungs Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications.
Although the Samsung 837X store would only be available for a short period in Decentraland, the company nevertheless intends to introduce additional similar experiences as the year progresses.
Bitmart Customers Await Compensation News
Bitmart customers have been speaking out for a while now and some have even resorted to calling foul play following the company's apparent failure to react to numerous requests for new updates in the wake of the recent December attack, which had resulted in the loss of a massive $200 million in assets from a couple of Bitmart's hot wallets.
Victims of the December 2021 breach are currently awaiting additional information from Bitmart regarding restitution of the lost funds, however the situation is far from being resolved.
To that end, the exchange has stated that the victims of the attack will be compensated in due time. In related news, most if not all email correspondence with Bitmart's CEO has since resulted in little more than bounced emails.
Despite the attack, many nevertheless remain optimistic about the future of crypto and DeFi and believe that as the sector grows, incidents like this will gradually decrease in volume and frequency.
2021 Ends, New Possibilities Open Up For The Cryptocurrency Industry in 2022
To say that 2021 has been an eventful year for the cryptocurrency industry would be an understatement. Whether it was Bitcoin (BTC) experiencing a new ATH (all-time high) price or going through a massive crash thanks to the ban by China's government, to the groundbreaking achievement by El Salvador as it became the first country in history to make BTC legal tender, to &lsquomeme' cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) bulldozing their way up the charts in the crypto market, to the still ongoing craze surrounding both NFTs and the metaverse, it is fair to assume that 2021 had many noteworthy developments, to say the least.
With that being said, many in the cryptocurrency community have already begun speculating on what to expect for the industry as 2022 begins, and whether the year will be filled with substantial profits or crushing losses, or perhaps a mixture of both.
The main highlights of what to expect
Even if it is not as exciting as 2021, the new year shall in all likelihood witness significant changes including but not limited to the debut of Ethereum 2.0 and the further development regarding the metaverse. Furthermore, as the sector matures, there will be lots of funds which will be accumulated to finance the continuous creation of new and innovative ideas, as well as plenty of possibilities to become increasingly involved with DeFi. There are also significant real-world elements that will most likely continue to impact the sector, ranging from U.S interest rates to record-breaking inflation to different COVID variations.
Moreover, as far as price action goes, it can often prove difficult to accurately predict the price of any given cryptocurrency simply because there are so many other uncontrollable factors like the recent introduction of the Omicron COVID variant (which disrupted both the crypto and the stock markets). We can therefore anticipate the cryptocurrency market to still experience relative volatility and be largely flat for at least a considerable amount of time this year. On that note, a major downturn on the scale of 2018 is unlikely, but if 2021 is anything to go by, then it is far better to expect the unexpected anyway.
One aspect that some may be happy to hear though is that unlike 2021, celebrities such as Elon Musk will most likely not have the same level of impact in terms of affecting the cryptocurrency market as they did in 2021. Perhaps the most famous example of this was when the Tesla CEO managed to bring DOGE into the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization through sheer hype, endorsement and popularity, which also saw the canine-themed token's price surge to reach a new ATH. Now though, many investors and traders would most likely prefer to do their own research rather than base their portfolios on the advice of someone else or whatever is trending, which is always good to see.
Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly likely that many governments would much rather prefer regulating cryptocurrencies rather than imposing a blanket ban, as had been recently discussed by Senator Cynthia Lummins who is also one of the key advocates for the cryptocurrency industry. Stablecoins such as USDT will also most likely end up being more regulated in the near future.
Ultimately, nobody knows exactly what is going to happen in 2022. Most of the recent developments have been positive however, with MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor continuing to buy more BTC, the U.S government being more open to talking with industry leaders rather than opposing them, and the skyrocketing potential of the metaverse and the P2E (Play To Earn) concept all pointing toward a beneficial year for the sector indeed.
Blockchain game technologies already exist, and there has lately been a surge in societal literacy along with overall acceptance of cryptocurrency assets as well. Some of the more well-known blockchain gaming projects include the likes of The Sandbox (SAND) and Axie Infinity (AXS).
Ripple Closes Out 2021 With ‘Strongest Year To Date’ In Spite of Ongoing Lawsuit
As 2021 draws to a close, many in the cryptocurrency community look back at the year we have had and all the ups and downs that the industry has gone through. Although numerous cryptocurrencies managed to reach new all time highs, it is perhaps Ripple (XRP) that needs to be talked about the most simply because it has managed to record its most successful year yet despite the fact that it is still facing the ongoing lawsuit by the United States SEC.
&lsquoA breakthrough year'
Amid continuing proceedings and seemingly endless legal battles between the SEC and Ripple, XRP has nevertheless witnessed substantial growth internationally, with the price going from below $0.5 in 2020 to reach over $1.5 in just a year's time.
Ripple's CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, stated on December 22nd via Twitter that it had been an entire year since the SEC filed the lawsuit against Ripple, Chris Larsen, and himself, claiming that XRP, which is a well-known publicly traded cryptocurrency, ought to have been registered as a security. Moreover, he reiterated his stance that the lawsuit was not just an attack on Ripple, but on the cryptocurrency industry and market within the United States. He also noted that some had initially accepted the charges made by the SEC at face value followed by the assumption that it had perhaps been a one-time occurrence, however this is not the case anymore.
Regardless of the present legal struggle however, the CEO confirmed that 2021 has been recognized as a breakthrough year for both Ripple as well as the cryptocurrency sector as a whole. Garlinghouse specifically noted that this year was XRP's finest, with RippleNet seeing its best year to date in addition to experiencing massive growth on a global scale. Furthermore, ODL (On-Demand Liquidity) is currently available for payment requirements in more than 20 nations globally. ODL transactions had also surged by a whopping 130% quarter over quarter, making up 25% of accumulated dollar activity during the network's third quarter.
In terms of international expansion, Ripple had also set up shop in Southeast Asia via a partnership with Tranglo in Malaysia and a collaboration with Novatti, an Australian payments company, through which they could participate in the Philippines market.
Cardano experiences similar success
Frederik Gregaard, the CEO of the Cardano Foundation, recently described 2021 as a 'year of enormous growth' during which Cardano and its native token ADA experienced tremendous success, with the price of ADA increasing by about 700% from last year.
Gregaard further stated that this year saw the Cardano protocol undergo gradual growth, community development, technological innovation, and collaborations that aided its progress. The CEO also noted various on-chain events that he believes indicate increased adoption for the foreseeable future.
In the end, one can only hope that the cryptocurrency industry can continue this wave of momentum into 2022 as global regulators, authorities and financial watchdogs consistently try to halt the unprecedented progress of this industry.
Senator Lummis Plans to Introduce Clearer Guidelines in 2022 with New Crypto Bill
As per the latest developments, United States Senator Cynthia Lummis, a major advocate for the cryptocurrency industry and one of Bitcoin's most ardent supporters on Capitol Hill, has announced that she will be pitching some much-needed new ideas and regulatory changes to Congress next year regarding the formation of a cryptocurrency regulatory agency as part of her comprehensive digital asset policy plan.
Lummis, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, desires nothing less than full acceptance of digital assets within the United States. Her future policy would ideally propose federal regulations for stablecoins in addition to consumer protections as well as revised taxation instructions. Moreover, she also wants to introduce a new watchdog in the form of a self-regulatory agency run by the executive branch's swaps and securities regulatory authorities.
A fully &lsquocomprehensive' bill
A lot of today's issues surrounding the cryptocurrency industry revolve around those being regulated at the state level, and numerous crypto enthusiasts have talked at great length about the increasing need for more regulations in order to legitimize the sector, with FTX CEO Sam-Bankman Fried recently mentioning this need to Congress not too long ago.
As such, Lummis had previously stated that she was working on a 'complete' measure for this calendar year. The endeavor comes at a time when Congress is grappling with virtual assets on numerous fronts. Members of Congress questioned prominent cryptocurrency leaders earlier this month in a session that was as much about introducing educational efforts as it was about overseeing the rapidly developing sector.
With that being said, the senator's bill shall reportedly address one of the main complaints that regulators and agencies such as the SEC have had pertaining to securities and how laws centered on them are much too ambiguous to cope with the current state of the cryptocurrency sector and its constant changes. Her recommendations shall hence involve clear instructions to regulators on the various asset types.
A new era for cryptocurrencies and regulations
As the cryptocurrency sector continues its record-breaking wave of momentum (which saw the likes of popular cryptocurrencies such as ADA, ETH and XRP all record amazing spikes in price from last year until now), there is a lot of concern about its future and the role that regulators shall play. Although the doors for healthy debate and discourse continue to open, there are nevertheless those such as China who wish for nothing more than to put an end to this thriving industry.
Whatever the future does hold however, we can only hope that it is positive and that people of influence such as Senator Lummis strive to work in favor of the cryptocurrency space instead of actively against it, as well as continue to tackle contemporary issues from a place of understanding rather than one of contempt.
The Metaverse Will Be The Next Frontier For Gaming
Anyone who has recently paid attention to the world of DeFi would know that when it comes to providing an immersive digital consumer experience, the metaverse is indeed perhaps the next big thing. As such, not only are an increasing number of organizations actively searching for ways to capitalize on the craze surrounding it (which also includes Barbados planning to open up a digital embassy in the metaverse), but numerous gaming industries and P2E (Play To Earn) projects have also become more involved.
There is one problem however, which is that the metaverse as it currently stands is still a bit of a hazy, high-concept idea which has not yet been completely defined or characterized. Some have defined it as a collection of digital experiences, places, and materials that grew in popularity during the ongoing pandemic's 'contactless era' and its corresponding transition in mainstream society. Others, such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, view it as a virtual world in which individuals may interact with one another. He had thus recently referred to Facebook as a &lsquometaverse corporation', which presumably had a lot to do with its recent rebranding to 'Meta'.
Metaverse and gaming
Gaming has become an extremely popular way to pass the time over the last few decades. Fast forward to today, and you have some of the most realistic games that are built using innovative technologies such as Unreal Engine which provide amazing lifelike graphics and visual effects. Nevertheless, one common issue for gamers worldwide is that there wasn't a mainstream way to earn money through gaming until fairly recently thanks to platforms such as YouTube and Twitch. Now though, gamers are targeting the metaverse.
One of the biggest reasons as to why so many gamers are becoming increasingly attracted toward the metaverse is the existence of P2E projects. It is now possible to play all sorts of games and earn passive income through them simultaneously. This is made possible by purchasing certain NFTs and using them as in-game characters through which completing various missions, quests and objectives will reward the users with the native token of that project, which can then be sold at any supported exchange for real money. Moreover, gamers often feel the need to be a part of different digital worlds where they have control, and what better way to accomplish just that than with the metaverse.
The metaverse's potential is limitless. Every new experience, be it an event, an NFT, or gaining player support, may be duplicated in-game to boost consumer engagement. It doesn't have to be difficult either, as according to Barbara Messing, Roblox's Chief Marketing and People Experience Officer, this is not a static advertisement, as instead it is a terrific method for people to connect with their audience and convey a compelling narrative about their company, business or organization.
Furthermore, according to Matthew Ball, a venture investor and one of the primary futurists promoting the new concept, the metaverse requires new technologies, protocols, firms, breakthroughs, and discoveries in order to grow. He added that there shall hence be no clear indication of a 'Before' and &lsquoAfter' when it comes to the metaverse. Instead, it will quietly develop over time as diverse goods, services and skills integrate and melt together to help create the next iteration of digitalization.
Whatever the case may be, it is becoming abundantly clear that the metaverse has already become a highly discussed topic in 2021. If the gaming industry wants in on this, then reliable technology and a strong community are both essential aspects that must be provided, in addition to the aforementioned P2E concept.
‘Global Policy Ought To Be Prioritized Over A Blanket Ban’, Says IMF Chief Economist
The International Monetary Fund's Chief Economist, Gita Gopinath, recently stated that developing economies must avoid outlawing cryptocurrencies. Instead, she referred to global industrial regulation as a need that must take precedence. She has therefore recommended regulating the industry rather than introducing a complete ban, given the latter's practical problems associated with its real-life implementation.
Gita's comments are in line with the growing sentiment that the cryptocurrency sector has grown so much that a ban may in fact no longer be feasible. As such, numerous regulators and governmental authorities are actively moving towards heightened regulation instead.
&lsquoRegulations to be preferred over a ban'
Arguing for a worldwide strategy, Gita, who will shortly take over as the IMF's deputy managing director, warned that if several nations banned crypto in its entirety, they would lose control over various offshore exchanges which are not subject to the rules of their respective country. This, she added, would then perhaps lead to them being disregarded completely.
Furthermore, Gita explained that there are obstacles to fully banning crypto due to the fact that many exchanges are based overseas, which would make it difficult to implement a ban on a global scale. This once again has to do with the fact that not every nation would be subject to following the same rules of another country or regulatory authority.
The Chief Economist's statements come at a time when governments around the world are debating how to regulate cryptocurrencies. The People's Bank of China for example formally announced a number of new efforts to prevent cryptocurrency adoption within their country back in September, including increased inter-departmental collaboration in suppressing cryptocurrency-oriented activities. More recently, the Russian central bank had officially outlawed mutual funds from being able to invest in Bitcoin (BTC) earlier in December.
Crypto keeps growing
As aforementioned, the cryptocurrency industry continues to grow at an exponential rate. New tokens, protocols and projects are emerging seemingly every other day, and the current market capitalization of Bitcoin is $892,158,622,767.  With such unprecedented growth, many regulators are becoming increasingly worried that if left unchecked, the rapid expansion could have unforeseen consequences. However, many entities believe that this is only the beginning for cryptocurrency's dominance, as companies like Grayscale keep purchasing more BTC.
What Happened When Crypto CEOs Met With Congress?
The CEOs of many prominent cryptocurrency startups travelled to Capitol Hill for a Congressional hearing. The topic of the hearing was reportedly on 'Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States', and it was held by the House Financial Services Committee.
Some of the more notable attendees included FTX CEO, Samuel Bankman-Fried. FTX is one of the world's biggest and most active cryptocurrency exchanges. Coinbase Global CFO Alesia Haas, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, Paxos CEO Charles Cascarilla, Bitfury CEO Brian Brooks, and Stellar Development CEO Denelle Dixon were all in attendance as well.
What were the main highlights?
Although the CEOs requested customized laws and regulations to respond to the developing cryptocurrency sector, they also warned against severe restrictions which could end up stunting innovation. Stablecoins and how they functioned were also reportedly discussed.
The legislators, led via California Democratic Representative Maxine Waters who acted as the committee's chairperson, asked various technical questions. Representative Waters went on to say that the overall popularity of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies has greatly risen throughout the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, and that the existence of cryptocurrencies has thus vastly 'contributed to working people searching for viable alternatives so that they can financially recover by investing in numerous cryptocurrency assets'. However, she added, as things stand right now, cryptocurrency markets lack a centralised regulatory framework, making digital asset investments prone to fraud, scams, money-laundering, manipulation, and other kinds of misuse.
Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina nevertheless stated that his colleagues might not be as tech-savvy as they ought to be in order to effectively design new rules and regulations, after which he then asked as to whether anyone in the current administration is actually knowledgeable enough about cryptocurrencies to create an appropriate regulatory framework or not. He then added that the U.S does not require politicians to hastily regulate and restrict out of anxiety and paranoia rather than attempting to comprehend what this new kind of technology truly is and what it may lead to. This dread of the unknown, he concluded, as well as the push to regulate before knowing, will in all likelihood inhibit American inventiveness and place the country at a competitive disadvantage.
What to expect going forward?
Ultimately, the CEOs agreed that regulation might indeed be beneficial since it would define the role of numerous products and services while minimising any future confrontations between service providers and regulators. Samuel Bankman-Fried in particular stated that regulation is very likely and that it's essential. He added that more regulation would be a healthy development for the sector, if done properly.
In the end, the hearing took place at a time when governments all over the world are deciding whether to follow China's example and entirely prohibit or regulate cryptocurrencies as well as digital assets, or to alternatively allow the embryonic technology to thrive as it has in El Salvador. Other notable developments which occurred included the proposed Token Taxonomy Act, which seeks to define digital tokens as not being securities.
Stark Ware Just Dropped Game Changing Innovation
The cryptocurrency, blockchain and DeFi sector is constantly evolving with the addition of all kinds of new and innovative technologies, projects and protocols. However, there is one that everyone should be keeping an eye on and that is StarkNet.
StarkNet is a decentralized permissionless ZK-Rollup. It runs as an L2 (Layer-2) network over Ethereum (ETH), allowing any dApp (decentralized application) to attain unlimited scale regarding its respective computation, all without jeopardising Ethereum's safety or composability.
What makes StarkNet so special?
One of the most recurring problems within this industry is that of scalability. StarkNet promotes scale while maintaining L1 (Layer-1) Ethereum security via the creation of STARK proofs off-chain, after which it would then subsequently confirm the proofs on-chain. In this way, StarkNet offers composability near the level of Ethereum itself, allowing for simple and straightforward development as well as innovation.
Simply put, through the intuitive usage of StarkNet Contracts, developers will hence be provided with the ability to quickly deploy any business logic on StarkNet. To that end, StarkNet Alpha is now live on the mainnet, through which the developers can take it one step further and implement the aforementioned business logic of preference in a smart contract, after which it would be a simple matter of permissionless deployment on StarkNet.
There are various milestones that StarkNet has already managed to achieve, with numerous more expected to be accomplished before long. As of right now, the smart contracts all support general computation, and they can even interact with one another too, which will reportedly enable further composability. Furthermore, L1 to L2 interoperability has been added, and complete Layer-1 security has been administered via on-chain data (Rollup).
In terms of future goals, the project shall be adding a Solidity to Cairo Compiler as well as StarkNet full nodes soon. There shall also be a wide range of data availability solutions which shall be offered, and a permissionless Sequencer and Prover is in the works too.
Lastly, in terms of its ecosystem, there is a wide array of useful educational resources available (where you can actually learn how to write and deploy your very own StarkNet contract), in addition to all kinds of innovative tools such as StarkNet JS, Devnet, Cairo Docker, Cairo Playground, Voyager Block Explorer, Warp EVM Transpiler, and more. Finally, it has a supportive and active community and the team is also usually quite active on Discord.
Visa Launches Crypto Consulting Service In Bid For Mainstream Dominance
Visa is introducing new advisory and consultancy services to assist its customers in navigating the cryptocurrency sector. Visa has since acknowledged UMB, an American bank, as a client which is already utilising its new advisory services.
The world-renowned payments processor announced this past Wednesday that its crypto-advisory service, contained inside its respective consulting and analytics department, will provide information and guidance to numerous financial institutions, firms, retailers, and various other businesses on topics ranging from implementing cryptocurrency-oriented features to examining NFTs.
Visa to cash in on crypto craze?
The initiative is Visa's newest attempt to expand its presence in the cryptocurrency market and industry. As per Nikola Plecas, Visa's European cryptocurrency head, the organization handled $3.5 billion in digital currency transactions via its cryptocurrency-connected card schemes from October 1st, 2020 to September 30th, 2021.
Nikola went on to say that a sizable portion of large exchanges worldwide have millions or perhaps even tens of millions of active users. He then added that Visa allows customers to spend their cryptocurrencies at more than 80 million merchants. Visa's Cuy Sheffield also called cryptocurrencies &lsquocool' during a recent conference.
The business is also working on solutions for stablecoins, which are virtual tokens pegged to the value of fiat currencies, generally the dollar. Some of the more notable stablecoins include but are not limited to USDT, BUSD, DAI, and USDC. Efforts concerning central bank digital currencies are also reportedly being worked upon.
What's the endgame?
Visa expects that its new consulting services will hopefully aid in the growing mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies. The credit card company, like major competitor Mastercard, views cryptocurrencies as a crucial growth prospect as it goes beyond card-based transactions.
Moreover, leading payment networks have experienced greater competition from a slew of new financial companies and businesses within the past few years. Emerging developments like open banking, which intends to provide competing fintechs access to customer bank information as well as payment capabilities, threaten to destabilise their business model.
Meanwhile, huge Internet businesses are putting pressure on Visa. Amazon announced last month that it will no longer accept Visa credit cards in the United Kingdom owing to the company's &lsquoexceedingly high costs'. Additionally, in both Singapore and Australia, the e-commerce behemoth has taken similar action against Visa.
Nonetheless, the future looks promising. According to a recent Visa poll, 94% of Americans are already aware of cryptocurrencies, and nearly one-third admitted to having used the digital assets as either a medium of exchange or an investment.
For Visa, the growing popularity surrounding cryptocurrencies hence represents a significant new sector and massive growth potential, according to Nikola. He concluded that the company shall therefore continue to focus on building this side of the organization even more for the foreseeable future.