Visa Inc is working to enter the cryptocurrency business to capture the business opportunity of becoming the mainstream payment vehicle.
Visa CEO Al Kelly discussed the credit card company's crypto strategy in a podcast with Fortune's Leadership Next where he talked about the company's plans on digital currencies.
“We’re trying to do two things. One is to enable the purchase of bitcoin on Visa credentials. And secondly, working with bitcoin wallets to allow the bitcoin to be translated into a fiat currency and therefore immediately be able to be used at any of the 70 million places around the world where Visa is accepted." Kelly said.
In early February, Visa announced a partnership with First Boulevard, a digitally native neobank focused on building generational wealth for the Black community. First Boulevard will be the first to pilot Visa’s new suite of crypto APIs, which will enable their customers to purchase, custody and trade digital assets held by Anchorage, a federally chartered digital asset bank.
“We set out to make Visa the bridge between digital currencies and our global network of 70 million merchants and today we are the leading network for crypto wallets with 35 crypto platforms choosing to issue with Visa,” said Jack Forestell, chief product officer, Visa. “With this pilot program, we want to extend the value of Visa to our neobank and financial institution clients by providing an easy bridge to crypto assets and blockchain networks.”
According to Kelly, there's a "strong potential" for cryptocurrency to become new payment vehicles, particularly in emerging markets. These are currencies that are fiat-backed, but we’re allowing this translation, if you will, into a fiat currency and in a wallet where there’s a Visa card and again that Visa card can be used with the translated digital currency over to the fiat currency to purchase at any one of our 70 million locations," he said.
Mastercard had also announced its crypto strategy in February saying that it was moving to support select cryptocurrencies directly on the network.