Visa Embraces Digital Currencies as a New Approach

In a U-turn, Visa appears to have taken a rather different approach to cryptocurrencies and other digital asset classes.

By · Jul 24, 2020 . 9min read

Source: Theweek

In a recent update, Visa signals it now embraces digital currencies not exempting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and even stablecoins.

In the update, Visa showers praise on digital assets touting it being a suitable drive for its global role as a facilitator for commerce. It said:

Digital currencies offer an exciting avenue for us to continue doing what we do best: expanding our network-of-networks to support new forms of commerce. 

Visa’s update on digital assets.

This new found love Visa appears to be demonstrating with digital assets comes with a checkered history. Visa in early 2018 clamped down on bitcoins and cryptocurrency transactions. This added to the woes the industry was facing during one of the longest bear seasons of the crypto industry.

In a U-turn, Visa appears to have taken a rather different approach to cryptocurrencies and other digital asset classes. Although it has always worked with cryptocurrency exchange giants like Coinbase to bridge the gap between digital currencies and its global network of 61 million merchants, it seeks to do more.

Visa boasts of more than 25 digital currency wallets linked its services. These platforms afford cardholders whether Visa debit or prepaid credential to spend their funds anywhere Visa is accepted.

It also has a FastTrack program which helps fintech. This includes those in the digital currency space to integrate quickly with Visa’s global network. Any crypto payment firm is welcome to explore this opportunity.

No longer playing the spectator role

With this update, Visa appears to be ready to move quicker perhaps than its competition Mastercard. Earlier this week, Mastercard said it’s extending its cryptocurrency program. This is to make it easier for companies in the space to issue their own payment cards. It also went on to sign a deal with London-based Wirex. This makes it the first “native” cryptocurrency platform to gain principal membership. With this, Wirex can now directly issue cards on Mastercard’s network.

Barely two days after, Visa issues its update.

We believe that digital currencies have the potential to extend the value of digital payments to a greater number of people and places. As such, we want to help shape and support the role they play in the future of money.

Visa’s update on digital assets.

A synergy between the public and private sector paves way for continued growth

The update also shed some lights on Visa’s recommendation for the digital currency economy. Even though many governments appear to be averse to the idea of unchecked cryptocurrency industry growth within its domain, Visa thinks the concerns will be assuaged if there is a continued push in the public-private sector partnership. Its push for this kind of partnership comes as no surprise as it is a global brand that works closely with governments. Many like to reference this as one of its reason it pulled off the Libra Association sometimes last year.

It went on to lay out the strategies it will be pursuing which will also reflect its core values:

  • Security, privacy, integrity and trust. We will maintain a rigorous focus on data protection, consumer privacy and fairness, and full compliance with all applicable laws.
  • Remaining currency- and network-agnostic: We plan to support the digital currencies and blockchain networks that our clients and partners demand, in keeping with our broader network-of-networks strategy.
  • Alignment with Visa’s core capabilities: We have deep expertise in securing transaction data, working with diverse stakeholders, and maintaining an always-on network with continuous availability. We will pursue projects that allow us to apply this expertise to new networks and technologies that can benefit our existing clients and partners.

Many within the cryptocurrency space see Visa’s embrace of digital currencies as a good step for adoption.

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