The FTX token surged over 7% on the news that Sam Bankman-Fried’s company,
FTX, would roll out a debit card in partnership with payments giant Visa.
Visa is betting that crypto investors still want to spend their digital currencies,
even as prices plummet this year.
The payments giant is teaming up with global exchange FTX to offer debit cards in 40 countries
with a focus on Latin America, Asia and Europe. The cards, which are already available in the U.S.,
will link directly to a user’s FTX cryptocurrency investing account. The move allows customers to
spend digital currencies without moving those off an exchange,
“like you would with any bank account,” according to Visa’s CFO.
“Even though values have come down there’s still steady interest in crypto,” Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu
told CNBC in a phone interview. “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.”
The deal comes as the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been cut in half from their
all-time highs in November. Bitcoin was trading near $20,000 as of Friday morning, down 57% since January.
It’s Visa’s latest foray into the space and adds to more than 70 crypto partnerships.
The San Francisco-based company has already joined forces with FTX’s competitors Coinbase and Binance.
Rival Mastercard has been on a similar spree, also partnering with Coinbase on NFTs and Bakkt to let banks
and merchants in its network offer crypto-related services.
American Express has said it’s exploring using its cards
and network with stablecoins, which are pegged to the price of a dollar or another fiat currency.
But the CEO said earlier this year that consumers should not expect to see an AmEx crypto-linked card “anytime soon.”