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By Kathryn Schneider /
1 Feb 2022
As the world accelerates towards a digital-first future, consumers and businesses alike are shaping the new frontier of payments. Rising consumer demand for businesses to accept cryptocurrency and other alternative payments is a critical opportunity for merchants to adapt, take advantage of flexible payment options for their customers, and accelerate growth in the process.
Although often critiqued for its volatility and regulatory hurdles, cryptocurrency is gaining more traction in the world of payments as companies look to expand their capabilities. According to a Visa survey, one out of every four businesses plan to accept crypto in 2022, and 82% of SMBs said they plan to accept some form of digital currency. The same study found a 94% global awareness of crypto, showing just how much the trending currency has grown in the public arena.
During a recent discussion, industry experts from Checkout.com, Sift, and Visa shared their unique perspectives on the current cryptocurrency landscape, predictions for the future, and how to safely and securely prepare businesses to accept crypto as a payment type. This webinar features Ash Sharma, Global Head of Crypto Partnerships at Checkout.com, Nikola Plecas, Visa Europe Crypto Business Lead, and Sift Trust and Safety Architect Jane Lee.
The world is currently at a crossroads of traditional banking regulations and technological innovation, with some regions and businesses more open to welcoming change than others. But no matter the potential challenges on the horizon, the crypto space continues to forge ahead, growing in both capability and mass adoption. Consumers are increasingly looking for tangible utilization of crypto in their everyday lives, and businesses are seeing this as an opportunity for new growth.
“For me, the test is my dad switching from his local big-four bank to a crypto.com card because it has better rewards. So I think that number one trend for me is the continued adoption of crypto exchanges by consumers and utilizing some of the wealth that they’re creating with trading strategies,” said Sharma. For many, this all comes down to how they can use their crypto wins to pay for everyday expenses, such as for groceries or the latest air fryer—or in Ash’s dad’s case, a new fishing rod.
However, the crypto space has also seen an influx of nefarious actors trying to game the system. Because crypto is relatively new, many consumers are still learning the dos and don’ts of managing crypto funds and navigating new platforms. And fraudsters are capitalizing on this lack of education, targeting crypto consumers and merchants. For example, crypto wallets have seen especially high rates of account takeover, partially due to the lack of consistent monitoring by consumers.
Many aspects of crypto have been near-impossible to predict, and regulatory challenges continue in some parts of the world, but there’s no denying the massive opportunity crypto presents. Below, see a few of the many predictions experts from Visa, Checkout.com, and Sift see on the horizon for crypto.
Crypto will become mainstream: The crypto market is lowering the barrier to entry for financial services, making it easier for consumers and younger generations to invest and build digital wealth. Experts predict we’ll start to see more consumers embracing crypto in their day-to-day lives, including the adoption of neobanks and using crypto for everyday purchases.
“There are several hundred million users of crypto globally, and one key similarity we’re seeing across all regions is typically younger consumers are attracted to crypto. They see it not just as a way of investing money, but they also believe that crypto will in some shape or form change the way financial services are conducted. Crypto is deeply cultural. It’s new, it’s raw, and it’s emerging. I’m excited to see what will happen in the following years,” said Plecas.
Crypto loyalty programs will be key differentiators: The innovation and adoption of crypto will continue to amplify consumer interest in receiving encrypted rewards as a part of loyalty programs, such as for airlines. Many consumers are expressing crypto as a preferred reward due to its potential for investment gains.
NFTs will continue to grow: Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are providing all kinds of artists with a new digital economy to monetize their creative work in the digital world. The blockchain-backed non-interchangeable tokens are taking off in art, music, and sports, and are even being adopted by some of the biggest auctioneers.
Gaming and the metaverse will open new opportunities: As with the online gaming industry, the rise of the metaverse will mean consumers looking to interact just like they do in the real world. This will necessitate an ecosystem of services and payment solutions, bringing in players like Visa, Checkout, and Sift to ensure safe and secure experiences.
Fraud will continue to be a challenge: The risk of such rapid expansion in the crypto space is the fraud that will invariably follow. Fraudsters will continue to target crypto, whether it’s account takeovers of crypto wallets and loyalty points, fake account creation, phishing campaigns, NFT theft, or crypto tax scams. Businesses of all sizes looking to build out their crypto payment options need to be well-versed in how to defend against all types of fraud.
Equipping your business with the best technology and tools is essential for protecting your customers and fending off fraud. And having a layered approach to fraud couldn’t be more imperative, as fraudsters have learned to target every step of the user journey to look for weaknesses in the security systems. Implementing a safe and secure solution from end-to-end, such as with Visa, Checkout.com, and Sift, can help ensure your platform is ironclad.
“Make sure your payments and tech infrastructure are smartly integrated with your fraud detection. Leveraging the right technology is key to ensuring you’re able to detect when a nefarious actor is accessing an account, if they’re using a stolen credit card, or using fiat to purchase cryptocurrency. Make sure your teams that are there to protect the integrity of these transactions have the right information to be able to intelligently tell if something is legitimate or not,” advises Lee.
To hear more insights from Visa, Checkout.com, and Sift on the future of crypto and how to take actionable steps towards accepting alternative payments, watch the webinar.
Kathryn Schneider is Sift’s Content Marketing Manager, specializing in digital content that sparks lasting impact. She’s an avid hiker, art enthusiast, and dedicated nonprofit volunteer.
Stop fraud, break down data silos, and lower friction with Sift.