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Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal are all extending their crypto capabilities

Payments giants Visa, Mastercard and PayPal have had a rocky relationship with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in recent years (though have been softening their stances for some time).

In 2018, all three companies cracked down on bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions in the wake of bitcoin’s massive 2017 bull run that thrust cryptocurrencies into the global limelight.

Now, with the likes of social media giant Facebook and Wall Street stalwarts including JPMorgan JPM +0.4% embracing cryptocurrencies, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal are gearing up to drive the next wave of bitcoin and crypto development and adoption.

“We believe that digital currencies have the potential to extend the value of digital payments to a greater number of people and places. As such, we want to help shape and support the role they play in the future of money.”

Visa quoted its founder Dee Hock, who gave a speech in 1996 explaining why he created Visa, using the same rationale to justify the company’s pivot toward cryptocurrencies.

“Money is nothing but alphanumeric data and it would become alphanumeric data not in paper form, but in a form of arranged electrons and photons,” Hock told the Extension National Leadership Conference over 20 years ago. “And they would move around the world at the speed of light by infinitely diverse paths through the entire electromagnetic spectrum.”

Visa, pointing to its work with bitcoin and crypto exchange Coinbase and bitcoin rewards app Fold, said it wants to “provide a bridge between digital currencies and our existing global network of 61 million merchants.”

Meanwhile, Mastercard has this week said it’s extending its cryptocurrency program to make it easier for companies in the space to issue their own payment cards, signing a deal with London-based Wirex, making it the first “native” cryptocurrency platform to gain principal membership and allowing Wirex to directly issue cards on Mastercard’s network.

“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy,” Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president for digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships, said in a statement.

Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal are all extending their crypto capabilities

Elsewhere, PayPal, is reportedly poised to begin offering cryptocurrency purchases to its 325 million users, potentially joining the likes of popular payments services Cash App, Square and Robinhood.

The move toward bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from the biggest names in payments has been cheered by the crypto community.

“The continued rise and spread of bitcoin is about as inevitable as anything in the worlds of technology and economics, so it’s no surprise that the big payments players are positioning themselves to benefit,” Cory Klippsten, tech investor and founder of bitcoin buying app Swan Bitcoin, said via Telegram, adding bitcoin and crypto “fits perfectly” into Visa’s “network of networks business model.”

“We believe that digital currencies have the potential to extend the value of digital payments to a greater number of people and places. As such, we want to help shape and support the role they play in the future of money.”

Visa quoted its founder Dee Hock, who gave a speech in 1996 explaining why he created Visa, using the same rationale to justify the company’s pivot toward cryptocurrencies.

“Money is nothing but alphanumeric data and it would become alphanumeric data not in paper form, but in a form of arranged electrons and photons,” Hock told the Extension National Leadership Conference over 20 years ago. “And they would move around the world at the speed of light by infinitely diverse paths through the entire electromagnetic spectrum.”

Visa, pointing to its work with bitcoin and crypto exchange Coinbase and bitcoin rewards app Fold, said it wants to “provide a bridge between digital currencies and our existing global network of 61 million merchants.”

Meanwhile, Mastercard has this week said it’s extending its cryptocurrency program to make it easier for companies in the space to issue their own payment cards, signing a deal with London-based Wirex, making it the first “native” cryptocurrency platform to gain principal membership and allowing Wirex to directly issue cards on Mastercard’s network.

“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy,” Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president for digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships, said in a statement.

Elsewhere, PayPal, is reportedly poised to begin offering cryptocurrency purchases to its 325 million users, potentially joining the likes of popular payments services Cash App, Square and Robinhood.

The move toward bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from the biggest names in payments has been cheered by the crypto community.

“The continued rise and spread of bitcoin is about as inevitable as anything in the worlds of technology and economics, so it’s no surprise that the big payments players are positioning themselves to benefit,” Cory Klippsten, tech investor and founder of bitcoin buying app Swan Bitcoin, said via Telegram, adding bitcoin and crypto “fits perfectly” into Visa’s “network of networks business model.”

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