Visa to enable Bitcoin purchase, says CEO Al Kelly

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In an interview for the Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast, Visa’s CEO Al Kelly reveals their efforts to integrate Bitcoin into their payment platform.

Their plans are for their millions of clients worldwide to be able to trade in BTC but also convert those funds into fiat. Kelly claimed:

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.

Visa’s long-term goal is to become a bridge between Bitcoin owners and more traditional payments methods. For that, Kelly believes stablecoins have a “strong potential”. He asserted:

(…) 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.

Bitcoin on top of Visa’s network

Visa’s CEO revealed they are working with 35 partners in the crypto industry to materialize their objective. Amongst their partners is Circle, the company behind USD Coin (USDC), BlockFi, Fold, and others.

Kelly claimed BTC is still in its early stages so he is not certain cryptocurrencies “will take off and become a big deal”. However, Visa is planning to be at the center of the crypto industry to “help move that money”. At the same time, the executive outlined a possible future where “there are no winners and losers” between Visa’s or Bitcoin’s network.

The payment company’s executive sees Bitcoin as a solution for the businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly the travel industry. With a declining usage of cash, Visa is looking to accelerate the “digitization of the economy”. In the next 3 years, Kelly said they will try to “digitized” 50 million small businesses.

In mid-2020, Visa published their first report which directly mentioned BTC and revealed their efforts to “advanced” their approach to the digital currency. Ultimately, the payment company’s vision is for every transaction across multiple blockchains to be settled on top of Visa’s network.

We continue to think of Visa as a network of networks. […] Blockchain networks and stablecoins, 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.

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