Visa has joined the NFT frenzy following a CryptoPunk purchase last week.
The US multinational financial services giant announced on Monday that it had acquired CryptoPunk 7610 for around $150,000. Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa and NFT enthusiast, aired his views on the value of NFTs in today’s rapidly growing digital economy and Visa’s drive to make the purchase. He said:
To help our clients and partners participate, we need a first-hand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT […] The ability to track and leverage a digital asset in multiple environments could mean exciting new opportunities in ticketing, gaming music, art, and beyond.
As a backstory, CryptoPunks was launched in 2017 by Larva Labs. They are considered as the original NFTs, with each CryptoPunk bearing its own unique features.
Visa’s pioneer NFT CryptoPunk 7610 is one of the female punks. The pixilated artwork is distinguishable by a Mohawk, large green eyes, and bright red lipstick.
Interestingly, the NFT was first claimed on June 23, 2017, and sold a month after for a meager 0.6 ETH (about $144 at that time). Visa bought the NFT on Wednesday for 49.50 ETH, equivalent to $149,939 at current market prices.
The payments giant partnered with digital asset bank Anchorage to buy the CryptoPunk. This is not the first time the two companies are working together. They first collaborated earlier this year to settle payments with the USDC stablecoin on Ethereum.
Meanwhile, Sheffield compared NFTs with the e-commerce industry in its early days. He pointed out how e-commerce helped small businesses go online to reach customers worldwide. He asserted that NFTs enable small businesses to harness public blockchains in creating digital goods, which can be delivered instantly to a crypto wallet anywhere in the world.
We can envision a future where a crypto address becomes as important as your mailing address.
Visa is aggressively making an entry into the crypto space. The company became the first major payments network to adopt a stablecoin in settling transactions. Its crypto-centric credit and debit cards processed around $1 billion in the first half of 2021.