According to a recent report from sources familiar with the matter, Mastercard and Visa, the credit card and payment services giants, are halting new partnerships with cryptocurrency firms. This news comes after the collapse of several cryptocurrency ventures that offered crypto debit cards and failed due to financial difficulties last year. After the report published, Visa’s head of crypto, Cuy Sheffield, criticized the story as “inaccurate as it pertains to Visa.”
Visa and Mastercard Clarify Their Stance on Cryptocurrency Despite Alleged Partnership Halt
A report published by Reuters on Tuesday states that Visa and Mastercard, two payments firms, are suspending their involvement in cryptocurrency ventures, according to unnamed sources. The sources cited “high-profile collapses” as the reason for the companies’ decision, and noted that discussions about the subject had taken place.
Manya Saini, a Reuters reporter, spoke with a spokesperson for both Visa and Mastercard, and each provided a comment to the journalist. “Recent high-profile failures in the crypto sector are an important reminder that we have a long way to go before crypto becomes a part of mainstream payments and financial services,” explained a spokesperson for Visa to Saini.
According to the Visa spokesperson, the failures do not alter the payment processor’s cryptocurrency and blockchain strategy. The representative for Mastercard stated: “Our efforts continue to focus on the underlying blockchain technology and how that can be applied to help address current pain points and build more efficient systems.”
The cryptocurrency industry has experienced a series of notable collapses and bankruptcies, including several businesses such as FTX, Celsius, and Blockfi, that had issued debit cards. After the collapse of these crypto companies, their debit cards became unusable and were terminated. However, in mid-February 2023, Wirex announced a partnership with Visa, a move the Reuters report appears to contradict. Before the collapse of FTX in late October 2022, Blockchain.com and Visa had partnered to release a crypto debit card.
The Reuters report also included a statement from American Express, which partnered with Abra in June 2022. An American Express spokesperson stated that although the company is interested in utilizing cryptocurrency for reward point redemption, it is not a near-term strategic priority. This position is one that the company has held for some time. “In the near-term, we don’t see crypto replacing our core payment and lending services,” said the American Express representative in an email.
Visa’s Head of Crypto Says Reuters ‘Story Is Innaccurate’
Following the Reuters report, Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, tweeted that the “story is inaccurate as it pertains to Visa.” Sheffield stated that Visa continues “to partner with crypto companies to improve fiat on and off ramps as well as progress on our product roadmap to build new products that can facilitate stablecoin payments in a secure, compliant, and convenient way.” The Visa executive added:
Despite the challenges and uncertainty in the crypto ecosystem, our view has not changed that fiat-backed digital currencies running on public blockchains have the potential to play an important role in the payments ecosystem.
Sheffield further added that anyone “building at the intersection of crypto and payments” for them to reach out. “We’d love to work with you,” the Visa executive added.
What do you think about the Reuters report that claims Visa and Mastercard are pausing new crypto partnerships right now? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.