Payments giant Visa has invested around $150,000 into a CryptoPunk NFT with the goal of furthering its knowledge of the growing market, Visa said in a blog post on 23 August.
According to the announcement, the company bought CryptoPunk 7610 — an NFT representing a female figure with green eyes and lipstick — on 19 August for 49.5 ETH. Visa stated that the purchase was part of its effort to learn more about the growing NFT market, as well as a way for it to support the creators, collectors, and artists that are developing this nascent digital asset class. Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto and self-proclaimed NFT enthusiast, said in a statement:
“We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce. To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT.”
The popularity of NFT’s grew throughout 2020, with a digital collage by Beeple called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” selling out for more than $69 million in the first quarter of 2020. One of the most popular NFT marketplaces, OpenSea, even reported a 12,000% surge in its peer-to-peer trading volumes in 2021, with the platform processing more than 1 million transactions worth over $1 billion.
Visa’s purchase of the artwork falls in line with the company’s push into the crypto market. Back in July, the company revealed that its crypto-focused credit and debit cards had processed around $1 billion in the first half of 2021 alone. Sheffield further explained the importance NFT’s could have on commerce:
“NFTs give small businesses an opportunity to harness public blockchains for producing digital goods—which can be delivered instantly to a crypto wallet. We can envision a future in which your crypto address becomes as important as your mailing address.”