Visa Launches Bitcoin, Crypto Cards In 40 Countries

  • FTX is launching bitcoin and crypto-backed debit cards in 40 countries.
  • The exchange partnered with Visa and will focus on Latin America, Asia and Europe.
  • The offering is available to US users, and the partnership will now be extended internationally.

Visa has partnered with one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, FTX, to launch bitcoin and cryptocurrency debit cards internationally, per a press release.

“The debit cards, which are linked directly to a user’s FTX accounts, are currently available in the United States and are now being rolled out globally in over 40 additional countries, including many across Latin America,” p[er The next phase of the rollout for the FTX-branded Visa debit cards is expected in Europe before the end of the year, with additional regional launches planned for 2023.

Visa, along with its competitors in the marketplace, continues to hold that users of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies still want to use their holdings as a medium of exchange, even amid a bear market downturn.

“Even though values have come down, there’s still steady interest in crypto,” said Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu, per the release. The debit cards simply connect to FTX’s platform enabling users to spend the digital assets in their wallets without needing to remove the assets from the exchange’s platform.

“We don’t have a position as a company on what the value of cryptocurrency should be, or whether it’s a good thing in the long run –– as long as people have things they want to buy, we want to facilitate it,” said Prabhu.

Visa’s major competitor, Mastercard, has also partnered with a number of different companies to offer bitcoin and crypto-backed debit cards. American Express has reportedly expressed interest in offering a similar product as well, though its CEO said it likely would not be “anytime soon.”

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried discussed Visa and other payment providers entering the ecosystem in a CNBC report: “There’s a decision you have to make as a traditional payments company: do you want to lean into this or do you want to fight against it? I respect the fact that many of them are leaning into it.”

By:

Source: Visa Launches Bitcoin, Crypto Cards In 40 Countries – Bitcoin Magazine – Bitcoin News, Articles and Expert Insights

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Critics by CoinTelegraph

Spending cryptocurrency may become a lot easier. FTX, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, has partnered with payments giant Visa to roll out debit cards in 40 countries worldwide.

The move would allow FTX users to pay for goods and services using debit cards that boast “zero fees.” Plus, card ownership is free, according to the company website.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the most influential person in crypto according to Cointelegraph’s Top 100 in 2022, has long touted his desire to unveil an FTX debit card. His company’s decision to partner with legacy payment rails — as opposed to crypto payment rails such as the Lightning Network — aligns with his views that the future of Bitcoin

The FTX token, the native cryptocurrency of the FTX trading platform, spiked 7% on the news, reaching highs of $25.62. The token’s all-time high is some way off, however, at almost $80.

Spending cryptocurrency may become a lot easier. FTX, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, has partnered with payments giant Visa to roll out debit cards in 40 countries worldwide.

The move would allow FTX users to pay for goods and services using debit cards that boast “zero fees.” Plus, card ownership is free, according to the company website.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the most influential person in crypto according to Cointelegraph’s Top 100 in 2022, has long touted his desire to unveil an FTX debit card. His company’s decision to partner with legacy payment rails — as opposed to crypto payment rails such as the Lightning Network — aligns with his views that the future of Bitcoin .

The FTX token, the native cryptocurrency of the FTX trading platform, spiked 7% on the news, reaching highs of $25.62. The token’s all-time high is some way off, however, at almost $80.

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Big for Bitcoin adoption: FTX partners with VISA to offer Bitcoin and Ripple (XRP) to millions of users in 40 countries Crypto News Flash

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Bosses Are Winning The Battle To Get Workers Back To The Office

In the ongoing battle between bosses and workers over returning to the office, recent data shows ... [+] getty

In the ongoing battle between bosses and workers over returning to the office, recent data shows more people are trudging back to the workplace. In the first week following Labor Day, office usage in 10 major metro areas neared 50% of 2020’s pre-pandemic attendance, reports Kastle Systems, a key-card property management company that tracks entries into office buildings.

There were more workers in the office last week than there have been since the pandemic started. However, in-office attendance is still lower than what it was before the virus outbreak. The in-office numbers may be low since Kastle’s data doesn’t include many of the city’s biggest real estate owners, including large law firms, banks, financial services and Wall Street firms.

Separately, the Partnership for New York City, a business industry trade group, surveyed more than 160 major Manhattan office employers between August 29 and September 12 to take the pulse of how many employees returned to the office or are still working remotely. Results indicate that 49% of Manhattan office workers are currently at the workplace on an average weekday—up from 38% in April.

Under 10% of employees are in the office five days a week. The number of fully remote workers fell from 28% in April to 16% as of mid-September. Train ridership is another indicator reflecting a return-to-office pickup after Labor Day. Many companies used the long weekend as the last gasp of freedom before ordering their employees back to headquarters.

After the long holiday weekend, 200,000 passengers rode the Long Island Rail Road into Manhattan. The number of riders was the highest level since March 2020. Commuters from Westchester and surrounding suburbs riding the Metro-North Railroad in the City hit a high point compared to the pandemic period with 174,900 riders. Additionally, New York City public transit data showed an increase in returning workers with subway ridership, having 3.7 million riders for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

The Partnership for New York City predicts that there will ultimately be a tipping point when the majority return to office. According to the Partnership’s analysis, 54% of workers will ultimately return to an office setting by January 2023. Even the tech industry, which has been the most resistant to going back to an office, is nearing the tipping point. Currently, average daily office attendance by tech professionals is at 47%, and that number is expected to increase to 50% by January.

Shifting Power Dynamics

There is a power dynamic shift taking place between the employee and employer. Throughout 2021 and early this year, workers were in high demand. Desperately needing staff as the economy reopened, companies catered to the workers. Seemingly overnight, the mood dramatically changed. As inflation raged, wreaking havoc on the economy, along with other geopolitical and macro events, thousands of people were downsized, hiring freezes put in place and job offers rescinded.

Americans now find themselves in a period of austerity. As this plays out, the dynamics between employees and employers will dramatically change. Companies will start clamping down and wielding their power, and the first order of business will be the return to office. A study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that supervisors have “negative perceptions” of the work-from-home trend and said they’d prefer their staff to operate from an office setting.rity

The managers who responded to the survey were brutally honest. Nearly 70% replied that remote workers are “more easily replaceable than onsite workers.” About 62% contend that “full-time remote work is detrimental to employees’ career objectives and 72% say they would prefer all of their subordinates to be working in the office.”

The Hybrid Model

The dominant style of work is the hybrid model, promoted by tech companies, which calls for people to work from the office two or three days out of the week and the rest of the time from home—or wherever they so choose. However, while tech leadership offered fully remote and hybrid options, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google scooped up commercial real estate after prices plummeted, due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The companies are making a bold contrarian bet that Manhattan will bounce back and there will still be a need for people to work in offices. Facebook leased enough space in New York City to triple the amount of people that can work in the city. Apple, which has been in New York for at least a decade, plans to expand its footprint there. Google and Amazon are snatching up space in the city more than any other place in the United States.

Amazon recently paid about $1 billion to acquire the Lord & Taylor flagship building in Midtown Manhattan from WeWork. Collectively, the tech behemoths can accommodate over 20,000 workers. In hindsight, it looks like the tech giants were hedging their bets by offering flexible options, while scooping up real estate in case they needed to change their work style.

The Showdown: Workers Will Continue To Push For Remote Work Options

You will likely soon see a showdown. Many surveys over the last year or so show that employees adamantly responded that they would rather quit than commute back to an office. People have grown accustomed to a better work-life balance by being at home. They appreciate the autonomy and freedom that comes with the flexibility of choice. Their productivity and hours spent working are above reproach.

Runaway inflation has driven the costs of commuting into big cities. The prices of fuel, automobile maintenance, food, business clothing and other necessities will eat into their paycheck, which is already depressed, due to inflation, making the money worth less than it was only six months ago. The long, exhausting, soul-sucking and expensive commute, along with random acts of terrifying violence, is keeping workers from returning to their offices.

In the ongoing tug-of-war battle over companies pushing people to come back into major cities, such as Manhattan, business executives conveniently gloss over these real issues and pretend they don’t exist. If you are commuting into the Big Apple from one of the boroughs, Westchester, Long Island, the suburbs of Connecticut or New Jersey, your commute can easily take two-plus hours door-to-door roundtrip.

The timing is generous, as it doesn’t include the daily frustrations of train delays, constant work being done on the tracks and mechanical issues with the bus where everyone needs to get off and is left stranded on the side of the road until another bus can pick them up. When you come home, you’re tired and burned out.

You also have to worry about your physical safety. New York City can be a dangerous place. According to data from the New York City Police Department, “crime increased by 34.2% in April 2022,” compared to the same period last year. There has been a “43.5% increase in grand larceny” and “burglaries also increased by 39.4%,” compared to last year, which was high to begin with. In April alone, there were 1,261 robberies, 2,044 felony assaults, 3,867 instances of grand larceny and 105 shootings. These represent the reported acts, and the number of unreported incidents is likely much higher.

The most recent data from the New York City Police Department showed an overall increase in crime during August 2022 by 26% compared with August 2021, 38% increase in robbery, 34.7% increase in grand larceny and a 31.1% rise in burglary.

Rationale For Businesses To Promote In-Office Work

David Solomon, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, epitomized Wall Street’s view of not being in the office, saying remote work is an “aberration.” Wall Street banks are the most ardent proponents of getting people into the office. It’s reasonable that the leadership feels this way. The securities industry is highly regulated. They need to consider money laundering, insider trading, ponzi schemes, churning client accounts for higher commissions and other inappropriate activities. If all the bankers, brokers and traders are under one roof, it’s easier for the compliance, legal, risk, audit and regulatory personnel to keep tabs on them.

There is another rationale at play too. In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams has been a strong proponent of businesses getting their employees back into the office. As crime and violence escalated in the Big Apple, as there were fewer people around, Adams contends that with commuters coming back, there will be safety in numbers.

There is also an economic reason. If commuters from New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut suburbs won’t return, the ecosystem of restaurants, mom-and-pop shops, retail stores, nail salons, gyms and other small businesses will likely fail. This would cause job losses, empty streets, invite more crime and deter both workers and potential tourists from coming into New York City.

The Benefits Of Returning To An Office

Starting a new job is stressful. It’s even harder when you’re doing it remotely. If you’re just beginning to build a career, working remotely may serve as a roadblock to your future success. After over two years of being at home, you most likely lost touch with some or all of your social contacts. If you remain remote, you run the risk of feeling isolated and it will be difficult to cultivate a group of like-minded people.

For young adults, going to the office has positive social benefits. You will meet new people, make friends and build a network of alliances that could help you throughout your career. There are a host of benefits to being at the office. You can find mentors to help navigate your career. There will be serendipitous meetings in the hallways, cafeteria, elevator and bathrooms. These impromptu interactions add up over time. It makes your work life better—or at least more tolerable—by having cohorts that share the same experiences.

Source: Bosses Are Winning The Battle To Get Workers Back To The Office

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ProShares ETF Targets Bitcoin Selloff

BITI, which seeks to obtain exposure through bitcoin futures contracts, will track the opposite performance of the S&P CME Bitcoin Futures Index each day. The launch comes as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have struggled in sympathy with the broader stock market, which is contending with scorching-hot inflation.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency is currently trading around $20,000 per coin on Monday, well off its 52-week high of $68,990.90 hit last year, after briefly falling to a 52-week low of $17,601.58 per coin over the weekend. “As recent times have shown, bitcoin can drop in value,” ProShares CEO Michael Sapir said in a statement. “BITI affords investors who believe that the price of bitcoin will drop with an opportunity to potentially profit or to hedge their cryptocurrency holdings.”

ProShares will also launch BITIX on Tuesday, a mutual fund with the same investment objective as BITI. “With the additions of BITI and BITIX, ProShares and ProFunds will be the only fund families in the U.S. offering funds that allow investors to express their view on the direction of bitcoin — no matter whether they believe the price will go up or down,” Sapir added.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BITO PROSHARES TRUST BITCOIN STRATEGY ETF 12.95 +0.23 +1.81%

The launch of BITI and BITIX comes after ProShares launched BITO, the first U.S. bitcoin-linked ETF, in October 2021, which attracted more than $1 billion in assets from the public in just two days. The firm also launched the first bitcoin-linked mutual fund, BTCFX, in July 2021.  ProShares, which offers one of the largest lineups of ETFs, manages more than $50 billion in assets in partnership with its affiliates.

Eight months after establishing the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF, ProShares plans to launch the first short bitcoin-linked ETF on Tuesday in the U.S., the provider of investment products announced Monday. The ProShares Short Bitcoin Strategy, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BITI, is designed to give investors a way to profit from declines in the price of the cryptocurrency. It will have an expense ratio of 0.95%.

Bitcoin fell to new a new 2022 low over the weekend of $17,601.58, according to Coin Metrics, after six months of declines amid the broader sell-off in risk assets. “As recent times have shown, bitcoin can drop in value,” ProShares CEO Michael Sapir said in a news release Monday. “BITI affords investors who believe that the price of bitcoin will drop with an opportunity to potentially profit or to hedge their cryptocurrency holdings. BITI enables investors to conveniently obtain short exposure to bitcoin through buying an ETF in a traditional brokerage account.”

BITI will be the first ETF of its kind in the U.S. Horizons ETFs has a short bitcoin ETF listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ProShares said BITI is designed to deliver the opposite of the performance of the S&P CME Bitcoin Futures Index and that it seeks to obtain exposure through bitcoin futures contracts. How well-timed the launch is remains to be seen. Markets remain fraught with uncertainty as investors await next steps from the Federal Reserve and signs of peaking inflation, but many are still speculating about the crypto market being at or near a bottom.

On Monday, bitcoin sat about 70% from its all-time high, which it hit in early November just a couple weeks after ProShares launched the Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO). Bitcoin quickly reversed lower, and has been falling since then.

12:27
10:21
10:39

07:28Roxe SPACs BlockchainCryptocurrencies

11:38 Mon, 20 Jun
09:38 Mon, 13 Jun
03:40 Tue, 14 Jun

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American Express Announces First Crypto Rewards Credit Card On Its Network

American Express will soon debut the first crypto rewards credit card on its network. Announced today at the Consensus cryptocurrency conference in Austin,TX the card, developed in partnership with crypto wealth manager Abra, will transact in U.S. dollars and offer crypto back on any purchase category and amount. The rollout is expected later this year.

According to Abra’s CEO Bill Barhydt, who spoke with Forbes ahead of the announcement, the crypto rewards will be tradable across over 100 different cryptocurrencies supported by Abra with no annual or foreign transaction fees. In addition, the card will offer several benefits from the American Express Network, including offers for shopping, travel, dining and Amex’s purchase protections.

“We’re thrilled to combine the strength of our payments network with Abra’s innovation and expertise in crypto. This is a credit card for crypto explorers and enthusiasts alike,” said Mohammed Badi, President of Global Network Services at American Express.

Though first for American Express, the Abra crypto card is only the latest in a string of products offered by cryptocurrency companies on major payments networks, such as Gemini crypto card, which offers rewards in the form of bitcoin and over 60 other cryptocurrencies, and BlockFi rewards Visa card.

Abra received its first check from American Express back in 2015. Other notable investors include Digital Currency Group, Pantera Capital and the Stellar Development Foundation. Today the self-described “crypto bank” and Forbes’ Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2021 list member has over 2 million customers. The Mountain View, California-based firm says it has processed more than $2 billion in crypto-backed loans to retail and institutional clients.

The new joint initiative “represents another step toward Abra’s goal of eventually offering an instant line of credit directly at the point of sale,” said Barhydt. “This is the future of payments.”

Today the firm has also announced a new feature to buy and sell NFTs with managed custody in the Abra app. Rather than funding DeFi wallets and moving between different app interfaces to buy and sell NFTs from marketplaces like OpenSea, users will be able to buy and sell digital collectibles directly from Abra’s platform, Barhydt explained.

Cardholders can choose from any of the more than 100 cryptocurrencies supported on the Abra platform, with no annual or foreign transaction fees. The card will also come with Amex Offers for shopping, travel, dining and services as well as presale ticket access and purchase protections.

Commenting on the initiative, Mohammed Badi, president of Global Network Services at American Express, said:

“We have a long-standing relationship with Abra through our Amex Ventures investment portfolio, as they have deep expertise in both crypto and traditional financial services, and we are now pleased to extend the American Express brand and benefits to their customers as the payments network for their first card.”

In April, the firm announced the launch of a capital-management arm with five funds with exposure to bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies available to accredited investors willing to invest at least $250,000.

I report on cryptocurrencies and other applications of blockchain technology. I also edit the weekly Forbes Crypto Confidential newsletter and contribute to our premium research service

Source: American Express Announces First Crypto Rewards Credit Card On Its Network

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Why Your Idea of Influencer Marketing is Outdated

While influencer marketing has become a mainstay for marketers, this doesn’t mean that marketers should start getting comfortable. As social apps start to integrate more creative functions to suit their users’ needs, an increasing number of users have started to become creators in their own right.

Anyone with a smartphone can create content, but those that create unique, high-quality content have risen to join the ranks of top influencers.

However, marketers often only consider partnering with ‘traditional’ influencers — influential tastemakers that usually have a large following. While these individuals may not necessarily create posts of high quality, their ability to leverage their fans makes them attractive to marketers seeking to promote their brand.

While creators can become influential and influencers do often create their own content, they aren’t one and the same. Marketers shouldn’t make the mistake of conflating them. Here’s why:

Influencers and content creators have different impacts on their audiences

Marketers increasingly understand the need to shift from ‘vanity’ metrics such as ‘likes’ towards engagement metrics such as ‘views’ and ‘impressions’. This also means that influencer marketing isn’t used just for the purpose of attracting eyeballs. Brands must engage the individuals that best suit their campaign objectives and KPIs.

For example, a beauty brand looking to raise brand awareness might engage a beauty influencer to create a sponsored post, then track impressions on their posts, or audience growth on their social media.

A YouTuber that uses the same products as part of a morning routine video or beauty challenge, on the other hand, can generate interest in your product that leads to greater click-throughs to your product page.

The main difference is that influencers act as an amplification channel for your content or product, driving awareness through reach, which can generate sales with the right target group.

Content creators, on the other hand, incorporate your product into their own content styles — be it beauty routines, funny challenges, or breathtaking photographs. These creators may not have a large following, but often have loyal audiences that are already interested in the form of content they produce. As such, they score greater points for relatability.

Think of influencer marketing as a form of brand partnership

Gone are the days when influencers are willing to plug your brand or product in exchange for free goods or cash. Influencers now hold greater accountability to their followers, meaning that it is imperative for them to be honest about sponsorships and create more authentic content.

According to Campaign, some factors that determine if a user decides to follow an influencer include how “real” their content is, how well-intentioned their posts are, and whether or not the content or products they endorse are in keeping with their usual style.

This means that influencers are likely to be more selective with the brands that they choose to work with. An influencer such as Liv Lo (@livlogolding), for example, builds her personal brand around her sustainable lifestyle and the use of environmentally-friendly, organic products. Liv Lo features cruelty-free skincare brands on her Instagram page and isn’t shy about criticising brands that aren’t as supportive of environmental initiatives.Instagram post Liv Lo

Top influencers hold even greater prestige and control. Apart from being awarded ‘verified’ badges on platforms such as YouTube or Instagram that cement their status as top dog, high-profile influencers are being provided exclusive features that allow them to directly drive social commerce.

Last year, Snapchat invited 5 top influencers to gain access to their in-app store function, allowing these influencers to sell their merchandise straight from the app. Instagram’s Creator profile, which was initially beta-tested on a small group of users, now allows influencers and creators to have more flexible profile controls, access to a dashboard of performance metrics, and the ability to create shoppable posts.

Creators are also being recognised for their influence. Events like VidCon celebrate the unique achievements of video creators and educate brands on how they should navigate the changing influencer landscape.

It’s clear that marketers can no longer expect to mould an influencer to their needs. Instead, marketers must learn to accept that influencers and creators are their own mini-brand. A successful partnership, therefore, depends on aligning the needs and values of both parties.

In order to find the right partners, use Meltwater’s Influencer Marketing Software or Klear’s Influencer Discovery Platform. We help you to find influencers based on your audience’s demographic as well as your target market, industry, or topic. Their fans are already familiar with brands in your industry, ensuring that your content effectively targets the right audience.

Just like celebrity endorsements, influencer partnerships work well in the long-term

Influencer marketing should not involve too many one-off partnerships. As consumers seek out relatable, authentic content, “momentary endorsements” become less attractive to most brands and influencers. After all, consumers place less trust in influencers who readily promote a variety of brands.

Marketers should strive to create long-term partnerships with the influencers that they engage. While long-term partnerships generally reflect well on both the brand and its partner, these partnerships also help both parties solidify their fanbase.

Influencers who work with brands on a longer-term basis can leverage a variety of posts that better reflect their relationship with the brand over time. For example, an influencer is likely to attend events hosted by the brand, speak about related social issues, and review the brand’s products. If an influencer praises the brand’s offerings, their fans are more likely to believe them.

Brands that embark on long-term partnerships may also benefit from the influencer’s follower circles. These audiences are likely to relate the influencer with the brand and thus confer a sense of trust towards the products that they endorse. This also means that audiences are likely to feel a greater emotional connection with the brand, leading to more sticky customers.

Content creators, too, are valuable partners. Brands that make creators their partners can turn the artists’ style or content form into a part of their brand identity. This is especially true for organisations that manage recurring events.

Arts House Limited, for example, manages the Aliwal Arts Centre, which organises the annual Aliwal Urban Arts Festival. While the lineup for each year differs, the Urban Arts Festival consistently showcases local street dance crews and musicians. The festival has become synonymous with local street culture, while the Arts Centre has become the go-to venue for local indie dance and theatre shows.

Brands like Arts House Limited show a keen understanding of their own appeal and their audience’s interests. Likewise, brands that seek to effectively engage influencers as long-term partners must create campaigns that appeal to their key audiences.

Meltwater’s Audience Insight reports allow you to understand the communities that drive conversations on your social media channels. Our tool helps you to discover your audience’s consumption habits, analyse shifts in their demographic, and identify key influencers within these groups. You can then use these insights to determine the trends and topics that resonate with your audience.

To move ahead, brands must shake off old conventions

Now that we’ve highlighted the reasons why marketers should understand the value of both traditional influencers and content creators, it’s imperative that they formulate an influencer marketing strategy that includes both facets.

As the social media landscape continues to change and include newer apps, functions, and trends that steal the headlines, social media marketers too must adapt to make sure that they stay ahead of the curve.

By: Violet Zhang

Source: Why Your Idea of Influencer Marketing is Outdated

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