Visa Says “No Reason” Why It Cannot Add Bitcoin To Its Network
If one ever wants to get the worst possible – and most incorrect – “take” in the world of finance at any given moment, one should just listen to the man who has mad an art form of “failing upward”, the former Goldman, Pimco B-grade employee, failed candidate for California governor, and current Minneapolis Fed uberdovish president, Neel Kashkari who after doing everything in his power to blow the biggest asset bubble in history and enabling the price explosion in such assets as bitcoin, had the temerity to slam the relentless move higher in the cryptocurrency.
On Monday, speaking somewhere (meaning some people actually cared about his opinion), Kashkari said – without a trace of irony – that Bitcoin is “a novelty, a toy, that people speculate on.” So… like all other assets which are terminally disconnected from fundamentals thanks to the Fed’s trillions in newly generated liqudity, hence bubble?
Yet while ignoring Kashkari’s “sophisticated” opinion is not only easy but mandatory in this day and age, what many missed last week when the world was transfixed by the reddit rollercoaster, is what Visa said in its earnings call, namely that the largest global payments processor is this close to adopting bitcoin:
Today, 35 of the leading digital currency platforms and wallets have already chosen to issue Visa, including coin-based Crypto.com, BlackFi, Fold and BitPanda. These wallet relationships represent the potential for more than 50 million Visa credentials. The next leading network has a fraction of that. And it goes without saying, to the extent a specific digital currency becomes a recognized means of exchange, there’s no reason why we cannot add it to our network, which already supports over 160 currencies today.
As CoinTelegraph adds, during the Visa Q1 earnings call on Thursday, chairman and CEO Al Kelly devoted a portion of his comments to reaffirming the financial giant’s commitment to crypto payments and onramps, as well as explaining “how Visa thinks about crypto in general and our approach.”
The financial services firm with over $72 billion in assets as of 2019 has been aggressively pursing crypto payments as of late, including by way of partnerships enabling crypto debit cards, and investing Zap, a crypto payments startup. Additionally, earlier this month Visa was forced to abandon a $5.3 billion acquisition of payments platform Plaid on antitrust grounds.
Thursday’s comments made it clear that Visa “still has long-term plans in the sector”, according to Cointelegraph, and that the company believes itself to be in an excellent position to pursue them. As Kelly said “we believe that we are uniquely positioned to help make cryptocurrencies more safe, useful and applicable for payments,” by virtue of Visa’s size, integrations, and brand recognition.
And to demonstrate its dedication to bitcoin, this morning Visa announced that it is piloting a suite of application programming interfaces (APIs) that will allow banks to offer bitcoin services. As CoinDesk reports, the Visa Crypto APIs pilot program will let clients “easily connect into the infrastructure provided by Visa’s partner, Anchorage, a federally chartered digital asset bank, to allow their customers to buy and sell digital assets such as bitcoin as an investment within their existing consumer experiences,” Visa said in a press statement.
Visa envisions a product set that extends to other cryptocurrencies and stablecoins as well as other crypto services such as trading, Visa crypto lead Cuy Sheffield told CoinDesk in an interview. Digital bank First Boulevard is the first bank involved in the pilot; Visa has issued a wait list for other banks.
The step is a logical evolution to a company that may soon accept bitcoin as a “recognized” means of exchange: while previously, Visa had been focused on helping crypto companies issue bank cards and has partnered with 35 crypto firms to date, this is the first time the company has offered crypto services to banks.
Perhaps the only question is how much of Visa’s adoption of bitcoin – once it is officially announced – is now priced in, or alternatively, how much higher does the cryptocurrency still have to go into record territory once hybrid global bitcoin-mediated transactions via the Visa network becomes a reality.
Wed, 02/03/2021 – 15:00