Visa CEO Still Uncertain on Crypto’s Role

Al Kelly questions the utility of cryptocurrencies even as the payments giant gets involved in the sector.

AccessTimeIconMar 8, 2022 at 7:26 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:55 p.m. UTC

Payments giant Visa (V) intends to continue to build out its crypto platform even as CEO Al Kelly questions the ultimate utility of the sector.

  • “What problem are we trying to solve?” said Kelly, adding his voice to the oft-heard criticism of crypto as a solution in search of a problem. He spoke during Royal Bank of Canada's global financial institutions conference Tuesday afternoon.
  • While cryptocurrencies may be quite useful in emerging markets where cash can be “dangerous,” Kelly said, he’s unsure of their role in nations like the U.S. and Canada.
  • Nevertheless, he added, Visa will continue to play a role in the industry and ultimately leave it to its customers to decide whether crypto makes sense for them. In the fourth quarter last year, Visa users made $2.5 billion in payments with crypto-connected cards, up sharply from previous quarters.
  • In addition to payments, Kelly said that Visa is facilitating purchases of cryptocurrencies, creating a utility for crypto via stablecoin providers and enabling financial institutions and fintechs to offer crypto access and custody.

UPDATE (Mar. 9, 13:32 UTC): Includes reference to conference in which Visa's CEO spoke at.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Author placeholder image

Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto reporter focused on public companies and digital asset firms.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about