Speaking on the company’s fiscal first-quarter 2021 earnings call, CEO Visa Al Kelly described cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as “digital gold” which are “not used as a form of payment in a significant way at this point.”
“In this space, we see ways that we can add differentiated value to the ecosystem. And we believe that we are uniquely positioned to help make cryptocurrencies more safe, useful and applicable for payments through our global presence, our partnership approach and our trusted brand. We think of the crypto market in two segments. First, there are cryptocurrencies that represent new assets such as Bitcoin.” Kelly said.
“Second, there are digital currencies or stable coins that are directly backed by existing fiat currencies. We see all currencies in that first segment as digital gold. They are predominantly held as assets that are not used as a form of payment in a significant way at this point. Our strategy here is to work with wallets and exchanges to enable users to purchase these currencies using their Visa credentials or to cash out onto our Visa credential to make a fiat purchase at any of the 70 million merchants where Visa is accepted globally.”
The payments executive also said stablecoins could be used for “global commerce” and that “digital currencies running on public blockchains as additional networks just like RTP or ACH networks.”
“Today, 35 of the leading digital currency platforms and wallets have already chosen to issue Visa, including coin-based Crypto.com, BlockFi, Fold and BitPanda. These wallet relationships represent the potential for more than 50 million Visa credentials. The next leading network has a fraction of that. And it goes without saying, to the extent a specific digital currency becomes a recognized means of exchange, there’s no reason why we cannot add it to our network, which already supports over 160 currencies today.” CEO Visa says.
If Visa were to accept cryptocurrencies someday, it would be as much a market boom as PayPal did last year.