On a Next podcast on Wednesday, Visa CEO Alfred Kelly said they would allow 70 million merchants to convert fiat into Bitcoin and he expects crypto to be mainstream. What has Visa been up to lately?
"We’re trying to do two things, said Kelly, "One is to enable the purchase of Bitcoin on Visa credentials. Secondly, working with Bitcoin wallets to allow bitcoin to be translated into fiat currency and therefore immediately be able to be used at any of the 70 million places around the world."
Visa is still feeling some pain as the coronavirus continues to depress spending on travel, food and entertainment. But long-term, Kelly expects the pandemic to sprout new innovation and may end up being good for business.
On February 3, Visa formally announced their latest partnership with First Boulevard, a digital bank focused on building wealth for the black communities.
"Black America has been fighting the same systemic issues for generations, yet the wealth gap is worse now than ever. For our community to succeed, we've got to control our finances. Let's get to work," said CEO Donald Hawkins on his profile.
In February alongsid the Visa partnership, First Boulevard announced a $5 million seed funding round from Barclays, Anthemis and a group of angel investors such as actress Gabrielle Union, John Buttrick from Union Square Ventures and AutoZone CFO Jamere Jackson.
Asya Bradley, the company's COO, said in a statement, "I'm building First Boulevard for our children and for generations to come. Now is the time to build an infrastructure that serves us the way we deserve to be served — as humans, as equals, worthy of love and life," said Bradley.
Visa already has partnerships with BlockFi, Crypto.com. Fold, and others, and seems to be opening up its cryptocurrency API slowly.
On December 2, Visa announced it was connecting its global payments network of 70 million merchants to the USDC Coin (USDC), the stablecoin created by Circle. There is currently over $9.4 billion USDC in circulation.
While Visa won’t control custody of the digital currencies, their partnerships with exchanges will allow Visa credit card issuers to start holding, trading, and swapping BTC and USDC within their native Visa accounts.
Businesses will eventually be able to send international BTC and USDC payments to any business supported by Visa, and after those funds are converted to the national currency, spend them anywhere.
Visa's cryptocurrency tools exist largely around its Fast Track program for helping companies obtain easy credentials for issuing Visa credit cards.
In February 2020, Coinbase became the first crypto company to be granted status by Visa to issue debit cards and new users. The Coinbase Visa Card started sending to customers in November, with 4% back in crypto rewards.
Visa gave permission to BlockFi in December.
Visa is rapidly partnering with crypto companies mainly because Bitcoin is eating away market share of the top national currencies.
Last year, Bitcoin passed the British Pound, founded in 1489 under the reign of Henry VII. This year, Bitcoin passed the Japanese Yen, founded in 1871 by the Meiji government. Bitcoin at $100,000 would make it more valuable than all the Euro in circulation, founded in 1999 by the 12 EU countries.
The US Dollar was founded by Congress in 1792. So how many years until Bitcoin passes the US Dollar? Visa thinks, very soon.
Bitcoin shot up to $60,100 within hours after the bullish Visa news on the Next podcast, but is currently trading at $57,700.