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Visa and other Payment Names Have Quietly Embraced Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

The value of Bitcoin has experienced an increase of 190% in 2020 alone and reached its new all-time high earlier this month when it’s value increased to $20 000 a coin. The astounding surge experienced by Bitcoin this year has been attributed to the institutional liquidity that poured in from Wall Street trading firms and public but-ins from PayPal and Square, two of the largest consumer-facing payment providers in the world. However, Visa, a company that is larger than PayPal and Square in both revenue and market cap, has quietly been warming to cryptocurrencies in the last few years by striking strategic partnership deals. 

Visa’s Steps to Crypto

Over this year, Visa has announced a handful of bitcoin-related debit or credit cards but this is not the first time that Visa has shown its acceptance of the digital asset. In 2015, Visa invested in Chain during the company’s equity fundraising round where it managed to raise an impressive total of $30 million from a range of industry leaders such as Nasdaq, Capital One, Citi Ventures, Orange, and Fiserv.  In October 2016, Visa launched a preview of a B2B Connect that was created in collaboration with Chain. Visa then filed a patent, relating to the methods and systems for using digital signatures to develop trusted digital asset transfers. In 2017, Visa rolled out its pilot phase for the payments service called B2B Connect. In 2017, IBM and Visa collaborated, where Visa integrated an open-source framework derived from Visa’s assets and Linux Foundation, to provide IBM with an improved process to carry out financial transactions on a permission-enabled and scalable network. 

The Journey To Digital Currencies 

Visa’s representatives have shared that the company believes that digital currencies offer them an exciting opportunity and avenue tocontinue doing what the company does best, and that is expanding network-of-networks to greater support new forms and niches of commerce. It seems that more companies are warming up to the idea of cryptocurrencies as well with PayPal, which has launched an initiative that will see bitcoin, earned on  bitcoin compass official , and other cryptocurrencies added to PayPal and Venmo in 2021. Square, which had already added bitcoin to its App in 2018, bought $50 million worth of bitcoin to add to the company’s balance sheet this year. However, Visa’s steps might have the biggest impact and a greater influence on mainstream adoption. While blockchain-run digital currencies held a great deal of promise, the adoption of these methods was slow. This was largely attributed to the ambiguity of regulations, limited acceptance by merchants, and general ignorance or miseducation of how the technology works. This all changed in 2017 when cryptocurrency debit cards hit the market. Visa has since been working closely with regulated and licensed digital platforms to provide a stable bridge between the various digital currencies. In February this year, a digital currency platform was granted a principal membership with Visa. According to Visa’s representatives, there are more than 25 digital asset wallets that have linked their services with the company, thus providing users with an effortless way to spend their digital balance by using a Visa debit card or prepaid credential at any of the worldwide locations that Visa is accepted. 

Future Prospects 

Despite Visa’s quiet, strategic, and invested approach to crypto services and products, the company is hardly ever the one to announce the launch of a new crypto card. It should come as no surprise that the crypto companies are the one’s responsible for broadcasting and pushing the news of the launch. Analysts initially perceived this to be apprehension from Visa but a blog post from Visa this past July cleared the air once and for all and made the company’s acceptance of crypto crystal clear. The post, which highlights the steps that Visa has taken to encourage mainstream adoption of crypto, states that Visa has been working very closely with digital platforms which have led to Visa becoming the preferred digital currency wallet network on the market and works with partners who are eager to expand on and deepen, their value to their loyal users by making transactions more user-friendly and time-effective. Visa concluded the informative blog by stating that the company believes that digital currencies have the potential to greatly expand the value of digital payments and reach a greater number of people in different places. As such, Visa has committed itself to supporting and shaping the role that these partners will play in the future of currency on a global scale. 

Earlier this month, Visa inked it’s most recent partnership deal with Circle, an early crypto payments application, to support Circle’s stablecoin. This means that selected Visa card issuers and merchants will be able to receive and send stablecoin values before converting them into their local currencies. Visa also shared that it aims to launch a credit card through Circle that will support USDC payments. 

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