The cards, already available in the US, will offer instant access to the user’s account for investing in FTX. According to Visa’s CFO, the move enables customers to spend digital currencies without transferring them from an exchange “like you would with any bank account.”
Rival Mastercard is in a similar collaboration, partnering with Coinbase for NFTs and Bakkt to enable financial institutions and retailers on its network to provide cryptocurrency-related services.
FTX’s CEO recognized an element of irony in these partnerships. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were developed to bypass traditional financial institutions and intermediaries. But banks and payment firms have suddenly started to embrace the technology as cryptocurrencies become more prominent and contribute to increasing payment volumes.
According to Bankman-Fried, accepting card payments is essential to expand the market beyond its current role as a speculative asset or, for some, a store of wealth. The collaboration makes it easy for businesses to accept cryptocurrency without committing resources.
Both executives see the most significant potential in emerging markets, which, due to factors such as currency volatility and inflation, make access to digital assets more in demand than it is in the US.