Visa will allow select credit card issuers to send and receive the USDC stablecoin built on Ethereum, starting as early as this summer.
Visa has a network of 60 million merchants. With both Visa and PayPal soon accepting some type of cryptocurrency, this opens up crypto payments to nearly 100 million merchants.
Continued adoption of crypto payments will allow new money to find its way into cryptocurrencies, both stable and instable. Many institutions and corporations will feel much more comfortable getting involved when they can use familiar payment processors like Visa and PayPal to process their cryptocurrency transactions.
After the issuer of USDC, Circle Internet Financial, graduates from Visa’s ‘Fast Track’ program sometime next year, card issuers will be able to integrate USDC send and receive features into their platforms. This will allow card holders to buy anything from Visa’s 60 million merchants using their USDC balance.
“This will be the first, corporate card that will allow businesses to be able to spend a balance of USDC,” says Visa head of crypto Cuy Sheffield. “And so we think that this will significantly increase the utility that USDC can have for Circle’s business clients.”
Visa has also invested $40 million in privacy-focused cryptocurrency startup Anchorage for receiving similar assets issued on a blockchain, and recently applied for a patent which allows central banks to mint traditional fiat currency on a blockchain. We will likely see Visa begin to accept different forms of cryptocurrency in the future.
“We continue to think of Visa as a network of networks,” says Sheffield “Blockchain networks and stable coins, like USDC are just additional networks. So we think that there’s a significant value that Visa can provide to our clients, enabling them to access them and enabling them to spend at our merchants.”
There are already 25 cryptocurrency wallet providers who have graduated Visa’s Fast Track program and will be eligible to provide credit cards linked to USDC balances. BlockFi announced they will launch a Bitcoin Rewards card in Q1 2021
Visa estimates that $120 trillion in payments annually are made using checks and instant wire transfers, costing as much as $50 each, regardless of the size of the transaction. Cryptocurrency can significantly reduce the costs and time of sending money.
Circle will issue USDC on multiple blockchains in the future, including Algorand, Stellar, and Solana. Algorand and Solana are already live and Stellar is planned for Q1 2021.
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