Could stablecoin volumes overtake Visa this quarter?


Stablecoins may finally overtake payment giant Visa in total payment volume this quarter, according to research firm Sacra. 

Visa’s head of crypto, however, disagrees.

In a blog post by Sacra co-founder Jan-Erik Asplund, the firm argued that stablecoins’ “extreme product-market fit for cross-border money movement” could see its total payments volume exceed Visa, reaching over $4 trillion. 

“Stablecoins win on convenience, enabling cross-border payments to be completed any day of the week (rather than business days only), on speed (in minutes rather than 6 to 9 hours), and cost ($0.0037 vs. $12),” Asplund argued. 

“Today every major bank is working on using stablecoins to run their payment rails behind the scenes,” he added.

Source: Sacra

Visa’s head of crypto, Cuy Sheffield, disagrees, arguing there was a “lot of noise” with stablecoin data and that on-chain transactions resulting from interactions with bots and automated programs “don’t resemble settlement in the traditional sense.”

Visa’s recently launched dashboard claims as much as 90% of stablecoin transactions over the last 30 days are not made by genuine users. 

There has been around $2.2 trillion in total volume of stablecoin transactions in April. However, less than 10% of that volume or $149 billion, has been classified as genuine by the credit company, with the rest made of bot activity and automated transactions by entities such as centralized exchanges. 

Visa collaborated with Allium Labs to develop an adjusted stablecoin transaction metric for the dashboard which was announced in late April.

“This adjusted metric aims to remove potential distortions that can arise from inorganic activity and other artificial inflationary practices,” states the company on its dashboard.

Daily Stablecoin Transaction Volume Adjusted and Unadjusted. Source: Visa/Allium

The dashboard applies two filters to its stablecoin data: a single directional volume filter that only counts the largest stablecoin amount transferred within a single transaction and an inorganic user filter that aims to remove bot activity and automatic transactions from large entities like centralized exchanges.

The dashboard, however, reports that the total monthly stablecoin transaction volume, spurious or otherwise, has almost doubled since the beginning of 2024, the majority of which is Tether (USDT) and Circle’s USD Coin (USDC).

Related: Visa, Mastercard could be key drivers for crypto in the year ahead

Meanwhile, other payment giants are getting in on the act. PayPal launched its PYUSD stablecoin in 2023 and Stripe said that would allow merchants using its platform to accept stablecoins for online transactions in April.

Also in April, Ripple announced plans to launch a USD-backed stablecoin to compete with market leaders.

Current stablecoin market capitalization is around $161 billion and daily trading volume is $37 billion, according to CoinGecko.

Cointelegraph reached out to Visa and leading stablecoin issuer Tether for further comments but did not receive an immediate response.

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