Terry Angelos, Visa’s global fintech lead, revealed in an interview that cryptocurrency companies have been showing “significant interest” in working with the world’s largest payments processor.
Speaking to Forbes, Angelos revealed that cryptocurrencies firms want to work with Visa to “connect their clients to our network of 60-plus million merchants.2 so far, the executive added, Visa has onboarded “about 25” crypto companies from around the world.
Visa has notably been increasingly more prevalent in the cryptocurrency space. Last year it joined the Facebook-led Libra Association as one of its founding members, but left shortly after, at about the same time Mastercard, Stripe, and eBay left as well.
The firm has also invested in custodial provider Anchorage, who is itself a member of the Libra Association, and became a member of the Digital Chamber of Commerce, a blockchain advocacy group in the United States.
As CoinDesk reports, San Francisco-based crypto exchange coinbase has been Visa’s most prominent partner in the cryptocurrency space. Both firms initially collaborated on a Coinbase crypto debit card that allowed users to pay using crypto. Coinbase later became the first “pure” cryptocurrency firm to become a Visa principal member.
This allows the exchange to issue Visa cards to other cryptocurrency firms. At the time Zeeshan Feroz, CEO of Coinbase UK noted that users’ BTC holdings have always been seen as illiquid “because you have to sell them, you have to go through a process, withdraw the money, and then spend it.” The card’s goal, he said, is to change that:
What the card is trying to change is the mindset that crypto is tucked away, takes two days to access, and can actually now be spent in real time.
Angelos further noted that some of the crypto firms it “onboarded” are “very large and established companies like Coinbase,” and are treated as strategic clients. Other firms have been on its Fast Track program, an initiative that helps the firms grow while providing them with access to Visa’s payments network.
Crypto lending platform Cred has recently joined the fast track program, and can now use Visa’s network to send interest payments to users’ bank accounts directly. Angelos pointed out Visa differentiates a cryptocurrency from a digital currency.
To the firm, a cryptocurrency is an asset natively issued onto a blockchain, like bitcoin, while a digital currency is a tokenized version of a fiat currency, like the USDC stablecoin. Most of its crypto clients, Visa said, fall into the latter category.
While Coinbase is still the only crypto company that is a principal member of Visa, Angelos said he thinks the firm has “some that are potentially in the queue.”
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