In an interview with Forbes, Visa executives revealed that the crypto strategy is driving the next stage of growth for the company. According to Terry Angelos, SVP global head of fintech at Visa, the principle guiding its crypto strategy is – to become a “network of networks”. To achieve this, the company is thinking about interoperating with the blockchain network.
Furthermore, Cuy Sheffield, Senior Director, Head of Crypto, shared that Visa Research has conducted a lot of the patent work. All this work revolves around the overall improvement of blockchain technology. For instance, Visa Research is exploring blockchain scalability, privacy, and second-level payment channels.
Diverse engagement with crypto companies
According to Terry, Visa has onboarded close to 25 crypto companies across the globe. However, Visa’s engagement with each company is following different paths. On one hand, a partnership with a company like Coinbase is being treated as a strategic fintech collaboration. On the other hand, there are companies that engage with Visa’s Fast Track Program to be able to issue credentials. Terry also shared that Visa is playing an important role in setting up a regulated crypto environment. For that, it has vetted partners who help crypto companies set up AML/KYC programs.
Primarily, Visa’s client base is the crypto companies that deal in digital currency rather than cryptocurrency. According to Visa, digital currency is a tokenized version of fiat while cryptocurrency is a native asset issued on the blockchain.
Furthermore, the company is excited to partner with fintech like Cred. According to Terry, platforms like Cred are building innovative products that will help Visa improve the fiat on-ramps and off-ramps with blockchain networks. Apart from that, Anchorage still remains the only public investment made by Visa. As the company provides a fundamental security infrastructure, Visa believes it will play a critical for the development and mass adoption of digital currencies.
Legal and regulated networks
Terry emphasized Visa is ready to engage with blockchain networks just like any other network. However, it will engage with a network only if its legal and regulated. Currently, Cuy is working with the crypto team to build the product set that can interface with such regulated blockchain networks.
Excited about CBDCs
Both the executives shared that Visa is excited about central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). According to Terry, traditional banks serving as primary access points to issue CBCD’s seems to be the most favored model. However, managing the legal custody of these digital currencies is where infrastructure providers like Anchorage will play a vital role.
As per Cuy, CBDCs present a big opportunity for Visa. The banks can leverage Visa’s existing network, assets, and expertise to make CBDC’s accessible to consumers and acceptable by merchants.
Offline payment solutions
One area where Visa Research is spending a lot of time is offline digital currency payments. Moreover, this is in line with the central banks’ mission as they are also exploring offline payments using CBDCs. According to Cuy, this is technically challenging but Visa is advancing its research on the same.
One thing is pretty evident, Visa’s future plans for digital currencies and blockchain technology are pretty big!
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