Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of business is the transmittal of money between parties. Getting paid is, after all, an essential part of operating any enterprise.

That’s why the payments business is so important – and so profitable. And bitcoin is already widely used as a payment system.

Annual Transaction Volume (billions)

Visa $8900
Discover $200
PayPal $600
Bitcoin $1300

(Source: ArkInvest)

The emergence of bitcoin as a legitimate player in the payments business has caused the current titans to embrace this new asset class. In July 20202, Visa said: “We believe 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. We want to provide a bridge between digital currencies and our existing global network of 61 million merchants.”

Not to be outdone, Mastercard in July 2020 announced that digital asset companies can use Mastercard’s network to issue their own credit cards. The first to do so was Wirex, a British firm. “The currency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy, ” a Mastercard spokesperson said.

At the same time, PayPal announced that it will soon allow its 325 million users make purchases via bitcoin. Square already does; it reported $306 million in bitcoin revenue via its app in Q2 2020.

Also in August 2020, Mathew McDermott, global head of digital assets at Goldman Sachs, said the firm might create its own digital coin to facilitate payments among and between its customers.

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