Visa’s significant progress in the market has not gone unnoticed in the past. In 2020, the payments processor made headlines when it became the first among its competitors to fully settle cryptocurrency transactions. The development came alongside a partnership with major crypto platform Crypto.com and that was its first major foray into the crypto space.
The Al Kelly-led company did not stop there, the firm also went on to use Ethereum-backed stablecoin USDC to settle transactions. This was developed in a partnership with old friends Crypto.com, and Anchorage, a federal chartered digital asset bank.
Since the man, the credit card giant has since expanded its crypto horizons, with over 35 digital currency platform partnerships in place, the company has obviously taken to the crypto space like a fish in water.
During the earnings call, Al Kelly firmly reiterated and outlined Visa’s plans, stating that the credit card company has been looking into Bitcoin-related services. In his words “our focus is on five different opportunities that we see in this space and I would say that this is space that we are leaning into in a very big way and I think are extremely well-positioned.”
He went on to point out the major highlights on the roadmap, including the spending and purchasing of crypto, provision of crypto-related APIs for Financial and Fiduciary entities, settlements and payments in stablecoin, and most especially central bank digital currencies (CBDC).
CBDCs are still relatively new in the crypto space. The basic idea behind them is a national cryptocurrency, a digital currency that stands alongside or replaces fiat currency. Ever since the idea came to light, only a few test runs and pilots have risen, but they mostly have faced the issue of interoperability amongst the CBDC projects.
Visa aims to solve this problem interoperability. A financial giant like Visa who already has a strong footprint in the crypto space will be best positioned to provide exchanges between national digital currencies, a breakthrough that could revolutionize the concept of money forever. Visa will also provide utility and help secure the value of CBDCs, ensuring the faith of the consumer in this digital currency.
Kelly pointed this out in his speech where he said “we’re talking to central banks about the criticality of public/private partnership and in particular the criticality of acceptance because for these central bank digital currencies to have value, they’re going to have to both be secure in the minds of consumers, and that’s something we have a long track record with and could help. And then secondly, obviously they have to have some form of utility.”