Why did Visa invest in art? Visa is an economic enterprise, and it exists purely to make money. It deals with millions of transactions daily, and behind the financial services corporation based in California is the simple focus of making money. It is a brilliant service that provides a fantastic opportunity to transfer money and pay for goods and services immediately anywhere in the world.
Visa is an electronic payment that relies on one of four secure data centres in Ashburn, Virginia; Highlands Ranch, Colorado; London, England; and Singapore to transact and authorise payments. It is a computerised service and can handle 30,000 simultaneous transactions and up to 100 billion computations every second.
It makes sense that Visa would be interested and pay close attention to the world of cryptocurrencies. Bank of America, which first issued the card in 1958, had many issues; however, in 1978 Visa card was successfully launched. Since that date, Visa has climbed to the dominant banking card in the world. Visa understands that with any new project, there are always teething problems. It resonates with the crypto world. Visa can see forward to a new platform where cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin may take over from fiat currency.
Lightening speed transactions
Seeing and grasping what the crypto world can offer similar to Visa in so far as lighting speed transactions, it makes sense for Visa to jump on the bandwagon and accept cryptocurrencies. There are many reasons Visa embraces a blockchain such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Firstly the transactions are as quick as the speed light from one corner of the world to the other. Any amount the willing parties agree to can be transacted without any third party.
Secondly is the ease of the process, no phone calls, no papers to sign, just a hosting provider or a secure wallet. This also makes it a very reasonable transaction charge.
Thirdly is the lack of physical space, no bank is needed, and no overheads to pay. Bitcoin exists purely as a block ledger in cyberspace. The only space required is the mines where the Bitcoin is recorded.
Moral and Social advantages
More moral and social advantages of Bitcoin are discussed in further detail here. As far as Visa is concerned, it is a sign of the times. The world is already using Bitcoin on an everyday basis. El Salvador is the first country where it has officially become a currency. Other leading cities in the United States, such as Miami, are keen and proud to become the hub of Bitcoin.
The icing on the cake
With all this official news and the adoption of Bitcoin in El Salvador, Visa officially bought a new artwork for its logo. They are claiming and paving the way for crypto transactions. Once a business is planned, or sometimes earlier, a logo cements the project and is the icing on the cake. Logos are potent symbols that speak a thousand words and can be recognisable universally, such as Coca-Cola.
Visa invested in a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) worth $150,000. I have written more about NFTs in another blog here. NFTs are cyber images that can be bought and sold online from hundreds of different platforms. Some common ones are Openseas and Rarely.
CryptoPunk #7610 was bought by Visa in August 2021 and is a female character with a mohawk, clown green eyes and “hot lipstick”. Only 10,000 were created in 2017 by Larva Labs, a software development firm, and then given away for free.
“We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment and commerce,” Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto, said in a company blog post. Sheffield noted that Visa wanted to “signal our support” for people involved in the NFT market.
Although you get to own the certificate of authenticity, you don’t necessarily own the rights to the image itself. However, purchasing an NFT allows Visa to use it as they like to market their crypto transactions and to announce to the world that they are now operating in crypto.
Kay Hare is an artist living and working in Kent, England.