Visa Purchases Its First NFT, Spending $150k on CryptoPunk.

OpenSea NFT Marketplace Reaches $1B in Trading Volume in August

Last week the financial services behemoth Visa made the organization’s first NFT purchase

On Wednesday last week, the Visa company purchased its first piece of digital art. The transaction was worth $150,000 and marked the digital payments giant’s first step into the NFT metaverse. 

The piece acquired was none other than a CryptoPunk piece. The non-fungible token (NFT) art was CryptoPunk 7610. It is one of 10,000 24×24 pixel art works from the CryptoPunk algorithmically generated gallery. The pixelated punk now owned by Visa is a female avatar with a mohawk, green eyes, and red lips. 

This summer the Larva Labs creation, CryptoPunks, saw a major spike in volume. The NFT boom prompted sales of the pixel art in the millions of dollars.  Earlier this month, due to such an increase in demand, prices for the Punks soared by over 50%. 

However, Visa did not directly purchase the NFT, worth 49.5 ETH. Instead, they used Anchorage, which facilitated the deal. This made Anchorage the first U.S. bank to custody such a type of asset. 

Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, said that NFTs are important for the future of retail. As an avid NFT collector himself, he said the company used a custodian to gain corporate expertise in the process.  “So we wanted to understand firsthand what it takes to acquire, custody and interact with an NFT. We’ve worked with Anchorage to do this so that we can build the expertise and be better positioned to help clients navigate this space,” said Sheffield.

While this is Visa’s first NFT purchase, it is not their first move in the greater crypto industry. Over the past year, the financial services provider’s crypto-related usage surpassed $1 billion.  It also launched crypto rewards with BlockFi. Consumers who participate in the program, can earn up to 1.5% back in bitcoin on every purchase. 

Sheffield made bullish statements on the future of cryptocurrencies in the global economy. “We envision there could be a future where your crypto address becomes as important as your mailing address,” he said. “In the same way Visa’s been here through shifts of commerce before, we’re really excited to help drive this new shift of commerce in the future.”

According to the head of crypto, the company intends for more NFT purchases in the near future. Upon the recent CryptoPunk purchase, Visa released a whitepaper to aid large-scale businesses in understanding the NFT space. 

Sheffield said it is only the beginning of Visa’s footprint in the crypto industry. 

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