Gonzalo Perez del Arco is the director of South Europe government affairs for American Express. He believes that crypto payments are not cost-effective right now.
Perez’s remarks were made during an exclusive conversation with Aaron Wood, Cointelegraph editor, at European Blockchain Convention 2022. Aaron discussed American Express’ current and future crypto-related plans.
Perez stated that crypto payments are not feasible in today’s market due to high transaction costs and merchants’ unwillingness to accept digital payments. He did however note that crypto payments may become a reality in time, and that his company is optimistic about that.
He said that crypto payments are a direction that market competitors are following and that they were interested in them.
Perez pointed out that American Express has been investing heavily in crypto through venture capital arm Amex Ventures. This has resulted in several new crypto use cases being developed and investments made. Perez cited as an example the newly launched crypto reward card, which was created in partnership with Abra, a crypto focused financial company.
Related: Amex CEO suggests ways credit card holders can redeem points for crypto
He stated that the low risk involved in launching a crypto rewards card program was the reason they decided to instead of delve directly into crypto payments. He mentioned the MICA regulations that will be in place in Europe, which prohibit tokenization of rewards, as one of the main reasons for their decision.
“Please see the MICA regulation about tokenization of rewards logic program in Europe that is soon to be published. Membership rewards are relatively simple and risk-free compared to other activities that involve crypto.
American Express is cautionary in its crypto-approach. However, Mastercard and Visa have been expanding into nonfungible tokens and Web3.
Visa is actively working to integrate crypto payment into its network. This will allow millions of customers to spend their crypto directly at thousands of merchants around the globe. In the first quarter 2021, $1 billion was spent on crypto by the payment processor giant. To help creators grow their businesses with NFTs, the company recently launched an immersion program.
Mastercard, on the other side, has gone beyond crypto payments to announce a direct NFT purchase option that will be available for cardholders with 2.9 billion cards.