Visa May Add Cryptocurrencies to Its Payments Network, Says CEO

The card giant could eventually use digital currencies over blockchain in the same way it processes traditional money.

Jan 30, 2021 at 3:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 11:03 a.m. UTC

Visa CEO Al Kelly said the payments giant is in a position to make cryptocurrencies more “safe, useful and applicable” and may add them to the company's payments network.

Speaking on the company’s fiscal first-quarter 2021 earnings call, Kelly described cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as “digital gold” that are “not used as a form of payment in a significant way at this point.” 

“Our strategy here is to work with wallets and exchanges to enable users to purchase these currencies using their Visa credentials or to cash out onto our Visa credential to make a fiat purchase at any of the 70 million merchants where Visa is accepted globally,” Kelly said. 

The payments executive also said stablecoins could be used for “global commerce” and that “digital currencies running on public blockchains as additional networks just like RTP or ACH networks.” 

Kelly added:

“Today, 35 of the leading digital currency platforms and wallets have already chosen to issue Visa, including coin-based Crypto.com, BlockFi, Fold and BitPanda. These wallet relationships represent the potential for more than 50 million Visa credentials. The next leading network has a fraction of that. And it goes without saying, to the extent a specific digital currency becomes a recognized means of exchange, there's no reason why we cannot add it to our network, which already supports over 160 currencies today.”

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