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Visa eyeing up stablecoins for its payments

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

Visa CEO Al Kelly is certain, the firm must be a player in cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and also Bitcoin. His goal: to enable the instant conversion of BTC into fiat currency and its use in payments.

It’s the hustle in the Bitcoin universe. The CEO of NYDIG assured this week, large companies are preparing to contribute to the democratization of Bitcoin. And that could be a turning point in the institutional adoption of BTC.

Visa, as a global payments player, is interested in other uses for Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies more broadly, particularly stablecoins. In an interview with Fortune, its CEO sheds some light on the group’s ambitions in this sector.

Regarding Bitcoin first. Visa’s plans are twofold. “We’re trying to do two things: on the one hand, enable the purchase of Bitcoin on Visa cards and, on the other hand, work with certain Bitcoin wallets to enable the conversion of Bitcoin into fiat currency,” he details.

These services would pave the way for the development of uses of the first cryptocurrency as a means of payment. However, this use is still underdeveloped today. The speculation prevails over its function as a means of payment.

By developing its participation in the BTC ecosystem, Visa would allow its use by the 70 million merchants who are its clients. However, the firm’s interest is not limited to Bitcoin.

The giant is also working on stablecoins, digital currencies backed by fiat currencies. “We see a strong potential for these to become a new means of payment,” says Al Kelly.

Visa is already working with 35 players in the cryptocurrency world. These include BlockFi, Fold, Binance and Crypto.com, among others. Circle, the issuer of the USDC stable coin, is also among its partners.

However, the multinational is not alone in the competition. Its main competitors are also positioning themselves on this market. This is notably the case of PayPal, which already offers a service for buying cryptocurrencies.

Already a partner of crypto players, Mastercard is preparing for a new step. The company announced in February that it would allow payments directly in cryptocurrencies on its network in 2021.