While cryptocurrency and digital currencies have been a topic of discussion in the cross-border payments space for some time, 2021 was the year that many companies began to seriously enter the space, albeit often on a trial basis.
We’ve seen great interest in crypto this year as an alternative to traditional cross-border payments. This has been particularly notable in the US, with Money20/20 being dominated by discussions and products related to the segment. Major payment companies have also been discussing crypto and digital currencies more, with Visa among those exploring everything from digital currency settlement to central bank digital currencies, while Stripe is building a dedicated cryptocurrency team almost four years after it stopped supporting Bitcoin payments.
This growth in cryptocurrency has included applications for both consumer and B2B uses, many of which are built on stablecoins, while remittances have also seen growing support, including with the launch of Facebook-owned Novi.
However, there still remain serious questions about the value and applicability of digital currencies to the space, particularly when it comes to the on and off-ramping required with fiat currencies. Expect many more developments in 2022, as the biggest players move from trial products to established ones.