Visa expands its support of crypto currencies

Visa, the largest company for payment cards alongside Mastercard, continues to intensively look into supporting crypto currencies. CEO Alfred Kelly sees great potential in this industry, particularly in so-called stablecoins, which include digital central bank currencies (CBDCs).

Crypto currencies such as Bitcoin are often perceived as pure stores of value or investments. For Visa CEO Alfred Kelly, however, the role as an effective means of payment is much more important, said the entrepreneur in an interview with CNBC. In doing so, he is primarily addressing stablecoins – digital currencies whose price is usually linked to fiat currencies. This also includes central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which continue to gain momentum. Finally, Visa also announced a new crypto card with blockchain company BlockFi.

Update 02.12.2020: Visa announces partnership with Ethereum start-up Circle Internet Financial, the company behind the stablecoin USDC, Forbes reports.

Visa and crypto currencies

The US company has already submitted a patent application for its own digital currency to the authorities in 2018. Originally, Visa was also a member of the Libra Association, the Stablecoin project of Facebook. At the end of 2019, some companies, including Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, withdrew due to high regulatory pressure. Nevertheless, they continue to believe in the technology and have entered into new partnerships.

“I think it’s a number of years out, but we’re certainly open to any vehicle that helps facilitate the movement of money around the world; we want to be in the middle of it. And I think crypto can have a player role especially in countries that are emerging markets where there’s a lot of underbanked and unbanked people in the world and we think that number is about 1.7 billion people on the face of the earth that are not banked in the mainstream banking system in whatever country they happen to live in, including some here in the United States.” – Alfred Kelly, Visa CEO

Crypto currencies as a means of payment

Visa isn’t the only company that wants to make it easier to pay for daily stuff with crypto currencies. Their rival, Mastercard, which was also part of the Libra project, has a similar vision. For several months now, they have been trying to expand their crypto card partner program to catch up with Visa.

Another former Libra Association member is the online payment giant PayPal. They also left the Facebook project and have developed their own strategy. Finally, a month ago, PayPal announced that they will offer the buying and selling of crypto currencies starting in 2021. In a later interview, CEO Daniel Schulman also made it clear that the crypto currencies can be used to pay anywhere PayPal is accepted.

New crypto cards with bitcoin cashback

Just a few days ago, financial services provider for digital assets BlockFi announced a partnership with Visa. They are launching a “Bitcoin credit card” that should be available to U.S. customers starting in spring 2021. Users of this card will receive 1.5% of their purchases in Bitcoin back, as well as a lump sum of $250 if they spend more than $3,000 in the first three months. The card, which has an annual fee of $200, is issued by Evolve Bank & Trust.

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