Sep 6, 2023

Visa has expanded its stablecoin settlement capabilities with Circle’s USDC stablecoin to the Solana (SOL) blockchain, designed to offer high-speed performance.

Video transcript

Visa is diving deeper into crypto to boost the speed of cross border payment transactions. The payments giant is expanding its stable coin settlement capabilities with circles us DC stable coin to the Solana Blockchain. Joining us now to discuss the Solana Labs, co-founder and Chief operating officer Roj goal. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Hi. Thanks for having me. Good morning. Thanks for, thanks for being here. All right, tell us how this partnership with Visa came about. Yeah. Um So as uh as your viewers may know and as you may know, um Visa has been one of the more forward thinking uh payments giants um and uh and has a large team focused on crypto. Um They started evaluating um their options for expanding and, and scaling their settlement pilot um a while ago. Um And I think the striking thing was just the level of technical diligence and, and the speed and, and the um confidence with which that team uh you know, evaluated and understood um the different tradeoffs for uh for, for scaling solutions in crypto. Um And, you know, we've had a team focused on uh things like SOLANA pay, uh getting developers off the ground with, with easy payment solutions. Um There's a, a large uh thriving ecosystem of payments uh startups in the salon ecosystem that are utilizing SOLANA pay. Um So, so has started to have a reputation for being really good for payments based on its performance. Um But, you know, in, in talks with, with Visa and as you may have seen a couple of weeks ago, also chop uh supports SOLANA uh US DC payments. Um It's, it's becoming clear that um so's technical capabilities are, are really good for these types of applications. Um So, yeah, the uh the, the visa team has been extremely um professional and, and great to work with and, and, and our team is uh uh really happy to see them joining the ecosystem. So I have to ask this because they, it from somebody who, who's kind of been uh looking at crypto now for, for a decade. And this whole idea that, ok, uh this is supposed to replace crypto is supposed to replace the likes of Visa. How does Visa actually fit in? I I we there's a tweet that came out uh from Visa saying that they've moved already, you know, some a few $100 million in US DC. What is Visa's role in that transaction? And why would Visa need to be involved in it? Yeah, you know, visas uh and, and authorization network. So when you're, you know, when you're swiping a card at a merchant um you know, uh Visa provides the experience for the end consumer of, of just convenience and and near instant payment authorization. But what a lot of people don't see is that the funds used for their purchase need to move between the bank of the issuer and, and the merchants bank um the the acquirer. So, you know, visa treasury and settlement systems enable the clearing and settlement and movement of of billions and transactions a day. And um and you know, this is really Visa's uh uh bread and butter is having the relationship, having the clients with uh all of these banks and then having the trusted global brand with consumers. Um for some, you know, for a network like Salana, I think the dream is that um you know, the network can't make its own partnerships. Um And the network is general purpose and has many people building with many use cases on top. So uh it's really, you know, uh a joy and, and kind of part of the, the the mission to see companies like visa using these um rails that are built to be, you know, basically as performance possible and, and down to the cost of the uh the hardware and the network bandwidth required to achieve global consensus and then build um uh value add services and products on top. Um you know, and, and I think what's interesting about payments and, and somebody like visa expanding a pilot like this is that it is um you know, looking at their core business and, and parts of uh their value stack for things like cross border payments and using crypto for one of its, you know, most um uh uh core use cases. I mean, in the, in the first uh paragraph of the Bitcoin white paper, Satoshi positive that Bitcoin could be um you know, AAA global Peer to peer payment system. Um It, it's, I think taken this long to see uh uh those pipes actually get replaced with, with companies like Visa, IIA A again, this and I, and forgive me because I, I, I'm kind of thickheaded and, and that's why I'm not a maker but uh uh you know, on this side of the, of the discussion. But how II I, if I'm, if I'm transacting in US DC, why would I need a Visa if I could just get a QR code and just send it directly? Uh If I, if I'm buying from somebody, why can't I, why can't I just go from the US DC one wallet to another? Isn't that, isn't that kind of the whole point? Yeah, of course. Uh and, and you know, pointing back to products that you still wanna pay. So if, if you were to give me your Phantom address right now, I could send you um you know, us DC without an inter intermediary and with no, you know, uh delay in, in settlement. Um Most of the world is not uh uh on boarded to crypto wallets yet and they aren't actually self cus their, their assets. Um And what consumers are used to doing is is using credit cards. This is what most merchants in, in the world are still uh using. Um if you look back to the the Shopify news from a couple of weeks ago, there is a capability for for users to pay directly with us TC scanning a QR code. But what this pilot is about is really the settlement between the banks. Um that sometimes happens at the end of the day, at the end of the week. If there's holidays, it can take many days. And for merchants, this really matters because merchants um you know, uh just like all humans uh value money sooner than, than later, there is time value of money. And so what uh using crypto rails for um inner bank settlement does is uh you know, it, it, it creates faster rails behind the scenes, not necessarily upfront for consumers, but those few and, and uh I'll let Jen go next because I know she, she's got this question but uh there were a few $100 million in transactions. What exactly were they for? Were they for anything other than trading? Yeah. So um part of what Visa announced uh is that they expanded their settlement pilot to to three new um banks. So World Pay New and, and Sao um what Visa is, you know, uh what, what I expect Visa to do is offer Salana as an option for, um you know, that, that inter day settlement um for more banks. Um and what was announced here is um in addition to the crypto dot com pilot that they started on Ethereum. Uh these 33 new banks have been added, settlements have already started happening uh to the tune of millions of dollars. And those three new banks that they announce are all uh uh using Salana for settlement. Um And the reason they're doing that is uh for performance and speed and cost. You know, I want to say it probably last year, a lot of the partnerships, a lot of the news we heard about Solana had to do with entertainment, they had to do with NFTS. Now, a lot of the headlines are very focused on stable coins, uh settling payments. Would you say there's been a shift of focus for Solana um to focus more on stable coins? I would say, you know, the vision of Solana has always been to be uh a general purpose. Um you know, execution layer that is as performing as possible. The use cases that um you know, tend to trend or see a lot of demand for that performance um can, can ebb and flow. Um you know, in the, in the first uh six months to a year of Solana's life. There were, you know, many dozens of, of D I startups. Um And, and, you know, the primitives got built and interconnected. Um Last year, I would say that, um you know, the, the largest user onboarding funnels were from NFTS that continues to be the case, right? Um These use cases are still growing, you know, D 52.0 is happening on salon of volumes are uh higher, much higher than they were even a year ago. Um In NFTS, uh the largest user bases in consumer crypto are being built. Um Things like Drip House which is a subscription NFT um platform has uh hundreds of thousands of users in less than a year. Um And they're doing it with compressed NFTS that bring the economics of this down to the, the cost of something like a mailchimp uh campaign. Um So these use cases are still happening, they're growing. There are awesome founders that are getting funding and, and building, you know, new high growth startups in those categories. But um I think what we tend to focus on as an industry is, is what's new and, and what's really pushing the edge. And um what we are seeing is in payments. I think the maturity of particularly the Salon network after having gone through a couple cycles of, you know, all of this battle testing and um you know, huge spurts of, of user and developer growth and um and unpredictable. Um The, the battle tested nature of the network now, I think is, is starting to get to a point where large payments networks um see the technology as ready for prime time. So I think there will be um you know, a can you focus on, on stable coins and real world assets? Um And for um and you know, in addition to the Shopify and Visa um announcements, I I expect to see more payments um giants that, that build on top of Solana. Um You know, at some point, I'm sure uh the expansion of the payments use case in so will, will be just as boring as, as NF and D I are today and, and there might be some other new use cases that we're really excited about. Um you know, but these things happen concurrently on the same network and for users, it looks and feels like one clean uh you know, network experience and, and that's part of the, the, the joy and, and um you know, the differentiation for Sala. Can you tell us about any other potential partnerships? Of course, you mentioned Shopify, we now have Visa, any other ones in the pipeline. Um You know, I can't say anything specific, but I can say that um you know, I've been really pleased by the activity during this fair market versus 2017, 2018. Um We spoke to a lot of large enterprises uh before launching Salana and um you know, in, in the last fair market when the markets really cooled down and, uh you know, crypto sort of fell out of fashion. A lot of those teams just got completely disbanded and nobody was really interested in launching anything new until uh the markets came back. I think this time, what we're seeing is, um, you know, again, uh a lot of these large enterprises are looking at crypto as, you know, not dead or out of fashion, but just in a lull where everything is much more bad at tested. So I think what we're seeing is um these decisions are much more driven by technical teams and that, that flow up to, you know, the CTO or the, the, the CISO and that's what Solana was designed for. So to answer your question, I think, um you know, having a, a company like Visa, um you know, and a few others that have recently adopted Salana um put that sort of stamp of approval up. II I think we are seeing a lot of interest from others who are, are looking for, you know, a hard technical choice that was made by somebody who, you know, had had the options. Um And, you know, we're ready to, to sort of field all that interest and um and support different use cases with large enterprises. When uh when was the deal with Visa finalized? Uh but not announced but finalized. Um I'm not sure what that means. I I, you know, Visa started uh building and, and evaluating the chain a few months ago. Um, and they announced yesterday, um, I, I think there were a lot of conversations in between. Um, but, uh, yesterday was a pretty landmark moment because it went public there, there were a series of, of, of rallies in salon prices. Did anybody inside salon or anybody, uh, with, with some knowledge that an announcement would come out that do, do you know about any buying that's been going on, uh, for the Token? Um, I, I mean, I think, uh, we don't really pay much attention to price or, or, you know, the, the sole markets. Um The real focus is just on getting people unblocked with actually using the network. Um I, you know, I, I'm not aware of anything that, uh, uh, we have, we have pretty strict policies about this stuff in place as well, but I, I mean, as far as you're concerned, as far as, you know, there was, there was no buying insider buying. I, I wouldn't know, I'm not sure. All right. And lastly on the topic of the Token, we all know that Solana's Native Token was mentioned in the SEC lawsuits against coin base and Binance recently, um Ripple is arguing that the SEC hasn't made enough of a case to warrant an appeal here. Um uh Are you and the rest of the folks at Solona watching this case closely given that the Token has been mentioned in the lawsuit. And how are you thinking about the, um, progressions that have been made? Yeah, I, you know, I think at, at Salana Foundation, um, and at Salon of Labs and, and at, you know, many other organizations within the Salana ecosystem and, and within crypto, everyone's paying attention. Right. Um, more regulatory clarity would be better for the industry in the US. Um, I think, you know, personally I've been pretty pleased by, um, uh you know, the, the defense of the crypto industry that's playing out in, in the courts uh in, in the US. Um And I think it's honestly happening faster than, than expected, but the industry has been prepared for, you know, a, a period of uncertainty to, um uh and, and, and, you know, and difficulty while moving past that period of uncertainty, I think this happens with every new frontier technology that there's lack of regulatory clarity. There are, you know, rules that get made. Um either uh uh through the courts or, or through the legislative branch. I think we're seeing both um uh happen right now. Um And overall, I think honestly, it's just, it, it doesn't factor in as, um you know, as, as something worth paying too much attention to because it's just a necessary phase of the industry. And I think from, from what we see, especially with the SALANA network, um you know, none, none of this lack of clarity seems to be holding back the network's ability to solve problems for consumers and developers and, and actually scale its user base and really quickly before we go, we do have to go. Um, is Salana Foundation or Solana labs prepared to respond if you are directly targeted by the SEC? Sure. Yeah, I think, um you know, uh we're, we're, we're ready to, to help bring that clarity to the, the market um if, if it comes to that. Um but so far, I think uh there are a lot of really amazing people fighting and, and creating that clarity on behalf of the industry like Bitcoin based Raj. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Congratulations on the announcement. Thank you. Thanks for having me guys take care that was Selena Labs, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Raj. Go.

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.