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 Mar 9, 2022 at 1:32 p.m. UTC

Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto payments reporter.

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.


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Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto payments reporter.

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Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto payments reporter.

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