One of the greatest criticisms against cryptocurrency in the past was that there was hardly any practical use for it.
A Dutch family made headlines in 2020 because they had decided to invest all their life savings in bitcoin back in 2018 and travel the world using the crypto token as the only way to pay.
Didi Taihuttu, his wife and three kids struggled at first, because there were hardly any people accepting crypto as a viable payment option. But this changed significantly in 2021. After PayPal and Visa announced support for cryptocurrencies, millions of merchants and vendors worldwide began accepting crypto, making Taihuttu's life so much easier.
The Dutchman can now get all the haircuts he wants – something he lamented he couldn't readily enjoy early into his bitcoin lifestyle because no hairdresser would accept the currency. But, what has made this mass adoption possible?
Visa makes things simpler
Visa issued a note earlier this week, stating that it has processed $1bn worth of transactions with the company's crypto-enabled cards in the first half of the year. In essence, what Visa does is enable consumers to convert and spend their digital currencies at 70 million vendors worldwide.
To achieve this, the payment processor doesn't assume any technical knowledge on the part of consumers whose transactions are converted automatically from crypto to FIAT using third-party exchanges.
Simplifying matters for the end-user has been the surest way to move the adoption of crypto as a payment method forward and it's a strategy leveraged by PayPal, which does the same.
Centralized adoption of crypto has been successful in improving the overall climate for B2C payments, eliminating the need for in-depth knowledge of blockchain or even crypto.
While payment processors have been quick to adopt an intuitive payment method that combines the power of crypto with the simplicity and everyday use of FIAT money, some have still remained skeptical of the implications.
Even though crypto payments are proliferating quickly there is an inherent lack of value to their use. Such currencies are not controlled by a central bank and their net worth fluctuates rapidly, making them somewhat unpredictable.
To minimize the risks, Visa and PayPal are sticking with established currencies with a strong market capitalization. Meanwhile Coinbase, a popular crypto exchange, is increasing the number of its token listings, while cautioning that a listing is not equal to endorsement of the featured tokens.
The good news is that consumers are protected. Their money is converted immediately, and the risk is borne by the processor. Much crypto has been locked over the years, but it can finally be released thanks to Visa.
While some degree of skepticism persists, it seems that payment processors have found a way to boost payment methods and for once it's not coming at the expense of the customer.