Most large players in traditional finance, the industry that is facing full-on disruption, have had a less than supportive stance towards cryptocurrencies. However, it seems like the change is finally on the way. Whether the delay was driven by a fight to preserve the “status-quo”, or the wish to watch others test the waters before jumping in, the fact remains that, today, more financial and fintech companies seem ready to take their place in the digital currency world.
The economic definition of currency as a medium of exchange for goods and services has not changed over time. However, their form has. We’ve gone from precious metals to coins and paper, and then on to credit cards and digitally recorded alphanumeric data. And soon, with the news around Visa and Mastercard going crypto, cryptocurrency payments will be enabled at more than 100 million merchants for over 2 billion card users globally between both payment service providers, arguably securing the next evolutionary step of currency.
Traditionally, settling a cryptocurrency transaction with a business or merchant that uses traditional fiat currency was rather complicated. If a customer wanted to pay for an item (or a service) with crypto, it would first have to be converted to fiat and then deposited to an account that could hold that currency. The bank would then transfer the amount to the payment provider, who would, in its turn, settle the transaction and deposit it to the merchant’s account. And on top of that, all these operations had to happen in the seconds between you submitting payment and getting the acceptance message. Still, it seems Visa and Mastercard are well on their way with the rollout plans and pilots.
As each of the payment providers announces their new services and explains details of how their cryptocurrency cards will work, there are still a number of changes that have to happen before you can buy your coffee with Bitcoin. But there is no doubt that as Visa and Mastercard roll out their solutions, we are to witness a historic leap in the number of crypto transactions.