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Visa and FTX Partner to Launch Debit Card in 40 Countries – Here’s What You Need to Know

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: iStock/onebluelight

Payments giant Visa and crypto exchange FTX have inked a partnership to allow crypto holders from 40 countries to spend their digital assets when shopping. 

As part of the partnership, Visa will offer crypto debit cards in 40 different countries with a focus on Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The cards will connect to the FTX accounts of users and allow them to spend their crypto assets at checkout across millions of merchants supported by Visa, Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu reportedly said. 

“Even though values have come down there’s still steady interest in crypto,” Prabhu said, adding that it would eliminate the need for moving crypto assets off an exchange when planning to spend them, “like you would with any bank account.”

“We don’t have a position as a company on what the value of cryptocurrency should be, or whether it’s a good thing in the long run — as long as people have things they want to buy, we want to facilitate it,” he added. 

The partnership comes amid a sharp decline in the prices of cryptocurrencies in the wake of a global market downturn. Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, is currently trading below the psychologically important level of $20,000, while Ethereum is trading around $1,300. Both coins are down by more than 70% compared to their all-time high prices. 

Payment Companies “Lean Into” Crypto

The latest announcement is one of Visa’s many forays into the crypto space. The payments giant has already signed partnerships with some of the biggest players in the industry, including Binance and Coinbase. In total, the San Francisco-based company is estimated to have more than 70 crypto partnerships.

Mastercard, one of the biggest rivals of Visa, has chosen the same path. The company has partnered with Coinbase to further simplify buying NFTs. Mastercard has also teamed up with crypto platform Bakkt to allow its vast network of banks and merchants to integrate cryptocurrencies into their operations. 

Meanwhile, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has said that cryptocurrencies are disrupting traditional payment networks, noting that many payment giants are choosing to “lean into” this technology rather than fight it. 

“There’s a decision you have to make as a traditional payments company: do you want to lean into this or do you want to fight against it? I respect the fact that many of them are leaning into it,” he said.

SBF claimed that such partnerships can help the crypto market further grow, while also changing the perspective that cryptocurrencies are speculative assets or simply a store of value. Furthermore, it would benefit merchants, enabling them to expand their user base to crypto users without having to worry about setting up proprietary technology.