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Visa buys an NFT-based 'CryptoPunk' avatar for $150,000

"This is just the beginning of our work in this space," Visa's head of crypto says.

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Visa is getting in on the NFT hype.

James Martin/CNET

Visa is stepping into the world of NFTs with its purchase of CryptoPunk 7610, an NFT-based digital avatar, the payments company said Monday. CNBC reported that Visa paid around $150,000 in Ethereum

Ethereum is a cryptocurrency that made its debut in 2015. An NFT is a unique digital token, with most using the Ethereum blockchain to digitally record transactions. A digital asset, such as an image, video or tweet, is tied to the token. The technology began in 2015 when unique tokens were created for the Ethereum blockchain, but they became hugely popular in February.

"We think NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce," Cuy Sheffield, Visa's head of crypto, said in a blog post. "To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT."

Sheffield added, "With our CryptoPunk purchase, we're jumping in feet first. This is just the beginning of our work in this space."