Visa is diving deeper into the world of digital assets after it unveiled a new cryptocurrency consulting arm.
The financial services giant hopes that the new initiative will facilitate mass adoption of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well as help its clients navigate the pitfalls of the fast-growing sector.
“We’ve seen a material shift in our clients’ mindset in the last year, from a desire to explore and experiment with crypto, to actually building a strategy and product roadmap,” Carl Rutstein, global head of Visa Consulting and Analytics, said in a statement.
According to the company, understanding the crypto ecosystem is “a vital first step” for financial institutions eager to attract or retain customers with crypto offerings, retailers looking to delve into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or central banks exploring digital currencies (CBDCs).
This is where Visa’s Crypto Advisory Practice, as the new arm is called, comes in, willing to offer expertise in crypto-related areas, evaluate opportunities and develop concrete strategies.
Visa further said that its crypto-centric consultancy will help pilot new projects, such as crypto rewards programs and consumer wallets integrated with CBDCs.
The credit card behemoth also announced the results of a new global survey, which found that about one-third of more than 6,000 respondents already own or use cryptocurrencies—either as an investment vehicle or as a medium of exchange.
Globally, almost 40% of crypto owners said they would be eager to switch from their current bank to one that offers crypto-related products in the next 12 months.
“Crypto represents a technological shift for money movement and digital ownership,” said Terry Angelos, SVP and global head of fintech at Visa. “As consumers change their approach to investing, where they bank, and their views on the future of money, every financial institution will need a crypto strategy.”
Visa’s foray into crypto
Visa is no stranger to making headlines in the world of crypto.
The company has teamed up with a slew of companies within the industry, including major exchanges FTX and Coinbase, to allow its clients to pay with cryptocurrencies at more than 70 million merchants globally, with over $1 billion spent using its crypto-linked card in the first half of 2021.
On top of that, Visa is actively exploring NFTs and the opportunities they open.
The payments company bought a CryptoPunks NFT for 49.5 ETH, or the equivalent of approximately $165,000, in August, followed by the launch of an NFT-focused educational initiative in October.
The latter was launched in partnership with NFT artist Micah Johnson and aims to help digital artists better understand what crypto and NFTs are about.