Payment company VISA has announced it’s moving into the NFT space and acquired a CryptoPunks NFT, punk #7610 to be precise. They do this because they believe in the future of NFT commerce. Of course it’s great that an established powerhouse like VISA supports blockchain technology and NFTs in particular, but it also feels a bit like gaming behemoth moving into mobile gaming after various newcomers like Rovio and ZeptoLab had great success.
VISA acquired CryptoPunk #7610, because they ‘first and foremost wanted to learn’. The company has a newfound believe that NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce. At the moment VISA sees sports memorabilia as the biggest trend, highlighting NBA Top Shot. But they also see opportunities in the entertainment industry, where NFTs give exclusive access to shows or serve as a limited reward.
VISA now wants to help brands and business to start using NFTs. The payment company expressed the desire to become more active in the NFT space, and develop various activities. However, they also noted to still be learning. For their customers they created a report, explaining the opportunities NFTs can bring to a business.
My take on this
First and foremost I support any company that steps into the NFT space and wants to try and embrace the technology. There’s no reason to shun them. However, VISA feels a bit old school. They try to support crypto by creating crypto-powered creditcards, but ultimately we all know that those cards will be replaced by apps on your phone. The point is, VISA stepping into the NFT space feels a bit like Michael Jordan moving into baseball, or Nokia desperately trying to stay relevant as smartphones took over in the 2000s.
I mean, look at this quote from their blog where they explained why they bought the punk: “Having worked with Anchorage Digital to complete this process, we’re better positioned to help our partners navigate the process.”
Wrap your head around that. They had help from a company to acquire ETH, pay for an NFT, and then wrap it. Someone who’s digitally native will do that with a few clicks. And now they want to help small business owners to get into NFTs?
Anyway, it’s great that VISA wants to get into NFTs. Perhaps they will invest seriously, and put a workforce on their NFT endeavors that creates a service which benefits the wider NFT community. Without a doubt they have the reach into the mainstream to attract attention, and perhaps we will see a new influx of users in the NFT space.