Could Scalable Bitcoin Payments Undermine the Asset’s Value?

With the wild journey that is bitcoin price swings so far this year, you might have missed the accelerating rhythm of companies announcing services to support bitcoin for payments.

We’re not talking about small idealistic startups, either.

A week ago, on Visa’s Q1 earnings call, CEO Al Kelly said the company may add cryptocurrencies to its payments network. He acknowledged that bitcoin is “not used as a form of payment in a significant way at this point,” but went on to discuss a strategy to “enable users to purchase these currencies using their Visa credentials or to cash out onto our Visa credential to make a fiat purchase at any of the 70 million merchants where Visa is accepted globally.”

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Visa also currently provides credit card infrastructure for 35 crypto companies, with the aim of making it easier for users to pay with bitcoin.

In PayPal’s Q4 earnings call this week, the first since the company started allowing the purchase and sale of a handful of cryptocurrencies via their PayPal account, the company revealed that it was planning to start allowing customers to use their crypto balances to pay for goods and services at any of the approximately 29 million merchants on the network, and that it was “significantly investing” in the crypto business unit.

Large crypto companies are also moving into payments. Last month, crypto exchange and custodian Gemini launched a credit card with a 3% reward on purchases. In December, crypto lender BlockFi announced that it would launch a similar product in early 2021.

This is just scratching the surface. Binance, Coinbase, Paxful and BitPanda are just some of the crypto…

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