Tech

Visa does not buy an NFT for art, but because its customers care

Visa has announced that it has purchased a CryptoPunk NFT. The arrival of the company in the sector sends a strong signal: institutional players clearly want a piece of the market.

Exciting things rarely happen on the Visa corporate Twitter account. Above all, we find very corporate, some advice to Visa’s client companies, Forbes rankings… And then, on August 23, 2021, unexpected news to say the least created a stir on its timeline Twitter: Visa bought an NFT.

NFTs are non fungible tokens, tokens not exchangeable in French. They are based on the Ethereum blockchain, and allow files to be authenticated. This technology makes it possible to create certificates of authenticity or property on the Internet, registered on the blockchain – and has allowed the emergence of a real virtual art market.

Visa decided to invest in this market by purchasing an NFT for nearly $ 165,000. Strange? Not really.

“NFTs are rapidly gaining popularity”

Over the past 60 years, Visa has built a collection of historic business objects – from paper credit cards to the first payment terminals. Today, as we enter a new era, that of NFT trading, Visa welcomes in its CryptoPunk # 7610 collection The company explained in a tweet.

Visa therefore offered itself an NFT, for the modest sum of 49.5 ETH, or a little over 141,600 euros. In addition to the news, Visa accompanied its tweet with a document explaining the company’s vision for the virtual art market, but above all
a special NFT buying guide for its customers, which explains how to make money from it.

NFTs are rapidly gaining popularity Cuy Sheffield, cryptocurrency manager at Visa, explained in the document explaining the company’s position. ” In August alone, they attracted $ 1 billion in sales […] To help our clients and partners to invest, we needed to understand ourselves how to buy, hold and profit from an NFT. “. It was therefore not really out of interest in art that Visa bought its CryptoPunk, but for financial reasons, and much more down to earth.

More broadly, Visa’s interest in NFTs shows that the payment systems giant is increasingly interested in cryptocurrencies. As more and more institutional players position themselves in the segment and allow their users to buy bitcoin and other cryptos directly, Visa wants to be in the race. The company announced accepting USD Coin payments in March, and announced a partnership with 50 crypto exchanges in July. NFTs are another indication that the company is serious about making a name for itself in the industry.

The NFT market is not dead

We mostly heard about NFTs last March, when several sales set records one after the other. Since then, they have gradually disappeared from the news. However, the NFT market is far from dead: it is even more active than ever. Data from specialist site Nonfungible shows that trading volume hit a new record this month, beating the one set in May, reaching $ 896 million.

NFT sales in August 2021 // Source: Nonfungible.com

The success of NFTs is always driven by that of collectible tokens, particularly with the CryptoPunks, a collection of 10,000 one-of-a-kind characters, or with the sneaker match “moments” sold by the NBA. But a still very active “second-hand NFT” market shows that buyers’ interest does not stop with collectable coins, and is long-term. The arrival of Visa will surely strengthen the trend.

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