VISA and MasterCard vs Bitcoin and Crypto

The CFO of VISA had sharp words against Bitcoin and spoke of a bubble. MasterCard’s senior executive was also rather critical of non-government crypto currencies. In both cases, however, the credit card companies are unlikely to impose sanctions.

It comes as little surprise when representatives of the classical financial system criticize Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. Likewise it hardly surprises unfortunately more, if it lacks this criticism at depth. Leading representatives of VISA and MasterCard, the two largest credit and debit card companies, have made critical comments on crypto currencies.

VISA: Crypto currencies are a bubble, all criminals use Bitcoin loophole

A new rather emotional criticism, because well-founded criticism comes from Vasant Prabhu, the CFO of VISA. In an interview with the Financial Times, he joined the ranks of people who call Bitcoin loophole a bubble. Like many other financial experts before him, he sees the development that people from lower social strata in particular see Bitcoin as an investment opportunity as very worrying:

“I’m worried about the people who ask me about Bitcoin. It’s the chauffeurs who drive me to the airport… If the one who shines your shoes wants to give you investment advice, you know it’s a bubble.”

He trusts a currency controlled by the Federal Reserve Bank because he knows who is behind it. In the case of Bitcoin, however, that would be unknown, Prabhu says.

Finally, he assumed that every crook and corrupt politician would use crypto currencies.

Apart from the untruths and half-truths, which the CFO of VISA spread further in the interview, the image of man is disturbed. According to these statements, those who drive him around in the car and shine his shoes are apparently neither worth putting some money aside nor able to recognize possible trends earlier than he.

MasterCard: Transparent, state-controlled crypto currencies are ok
Ari Sarker, MasterCard’s senior executive, expressed himself more favourably towards crypto currencies – provided they were not anonymous, on the one hand, and controlled by the state, on the other. This confirms the words of MasterCard’s CEO. Ajay Banga described crypto currencies that do not meet these criteria as “garbage”.

Unfortunately, none of the representatives expressed their opinion on how this fits in with the controversial Petro Venezuela.

Despite criticism: no sanctions against Bitcoin

However, the critical words, sharp in the case of VISA, do not seem to have too negative consequences for Bitcoin debit cards and the like. Both MasterCard and VISA have defined the purchase of Bitcoin as a cash payment. This is subject to special fees, but is not prohibited.

VISA does not currently wish to prohibit transactions into the crypto ecosystem. However, VISA attaches great importance to strict anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations. Interfaces between the crypto ecosystem and the real economy must be set up accordingly.

MasterCard has even launched a pilot programme in Japan and Singapore which allows Bitcoin investors to withdraw the equivalent value in Fiat to a MasterCard.