Global financial services giant Visa already works with cryptocurrencies through partnerships with wallets and platforms – digital asset companies BlockFi, Fold and Crypto.com, for example, already issue products with the company’s brand. However, the company’s CEO, Alfred Kelly, now suggests that cryptocurrencies may run directly on Visa’s network in the future.
On Thursday (28), in a conference call in which he presented the fiscal results for the first quarter of 2021, Kelly took a few minutes out of his introductory statement to speak specifically about cryptocurrencies and opportunities in the sector. He cited the fact that Visa is the largest financial services brand in the segment because of its partnership with 35 platforms and portfolios.
“In this space, we see ways to add differentiated value to the ecosystem,” said Kelly. “And we believe that we are uniquely positioned to help make cryptocurrencies more secure, useful and applicable for payments through our global presence, our partnership approach and our trusted brand.”
Kelly sees the industry divided between two types of currencies: in the first group are Bitcoin and other variants of “digital gold”, which are “predominantly held as assets”, and in the second are stablecoins and coins backed by fiat money, such as Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC). For the first group, Visa believes that the best strategy is to continue with the partnerships and provide users with a way to withdraw their assets as desired, using their Visa credentials in nearly 70 million businesses worldwide.
As for the latter, “this is an emerging innovation in payments that could have the potential to be used in global trade, like any other fiat currency,” said Kelly. “We think of digital currencies running on public blockchains as additional networks, like RTP or ACH networks. Therefore, we see them as part of our network strategy ”.
“It goes without saying that, as a specific digital currency becomes a recognized medium of exchange, there is no reason why we cannot add it to our network, which currently supports more than 160 (fiduciary) currencies,” he added.
It is a clearer version of a statement made by Kelly in November, when he suggested that Visa “could see digital currencies running on the Visa network on a more regular basis”, although “in a few years”.
Visa previously said it does not want to have favorite cryptocurrencies, but rather to support currencies and providers more broadly. It will be interesting to see if this approach changes as the adoption of stablecoin and CBDC increases in the coming months and years.
* Translated and edited with authorization from Decrypt.co