The central theses
- According to CEO Al Kelly, Visa plans to add support for buying and spending cryptocurrencies.
- The company also works with more than 35 fiat-backed cryptocurrency projects.
- Mastercard and PayPal have their own crypto efforts underway that may have catalyzed Visa’s plans.
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According to Al Kelly, CEO of Visa, the payment giant plans to enable the buying and spending of cryptocurrencies on its network.
Users buy and spend crypto
Kelly stated during Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast that his company is pursuing two strategies related to Bitcoin. First, there are plans to “enable the purchase of Bitcoin with Visa credentials”. This means that retail users using the company’s cards can buy bitcoin.
Second, Visa plans to work with Bitcoin wallets so that BTC can be “converted to fiat currency” and used in places where Visa is traditionally accepted. This means that Bitcoin could be accepted at 70 million companies that support the company’s cards.
Kelly also noted that Visa is working with around 35 different cryptocurrency projects, particularly those with fiat-backed cryptocurrencies. This suggests that Visa is interested in stable coins. In fact, it is already known to partner with Circle USD on this matter.
Kelly noted that he doesn’t know whether cryptocurrencies will ultimately succeed or fail. Rather, he says that Visa “doesn’t pick winners and losers,” and that the company intends to embrace the trend if crypto becomes a more popular payment method.
Mastercard, PayPal have competing plans
Competing payment giant Mastercard announced similar plans in February, suggesting it will support stable coin transactions initially. Meanwhile, PayPal added buying and selling crypto over the last year and plans to expand those capabilities. These competing efforts could be a catalyst for Visa’s plans.
While some see this news as a milestone in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, others see it as possibly undermining Bitcoin’s goals.
Visa is likely to have significant control over its cryptocurrency activities and will be able to block users and transactions. Bitcoin, on the other hand, was designed to evade these limitations.
Disclaimer: At the time of writing, this author held less than $ 75 in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Altcoins.
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