Visa Explores the Possibility of Stablecoin Payments

In late January, it was reported that Visa was looking to integrate blockchain-powered solutions into its services to enhance the future of payments. Alfred F. Kelly, the company's executive, stated that Visa believes stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) could play a crucial role in their payments division and that they have several initiatives in the works. According to reports, Visa is already testing payments and payouts on Ethereum using the stablecoin USDC, which was described as "large value settlement payments."

Visa's team of researchers and engineers have been evaluating different blockchain protocols, focusing on security, scalability, interoperability, privacy, and use cases. The company also explored the option of allowing auto payments via Ethereum wallets earlier in the year, releasing a proposal outlining how users could set up automatic payments without the need for centralized entities such as banks.

Visa currently uses the SWIFT system for settlements, which facilitates trillions of dollars of cross-border payments globally. Still, the company wants to build "muscle memory" around settlements, as the limitations of the SWIFT network prevent them from moving money as frequently as they would like. By accepting payments and paying out in USDC on Ethereum, Visa seeks to allow customers to convert digital assets to fiat currencies on their platform.

Cuy Sheffield, Vice President and Head of Crypto at Visa, spoke at the StarkWare Sessions 2023, highlighting that Visa is investing in the ability to settle globally with digital assets and fiat currencies. Sheffield stated that they want to provide the same value that Visa currently offers on traditional bank rails but built on blockchain rails using stablecoins.

In the annual shareholder meeting, former CEO Al Kelly shared the company's plans for CBDCs and private stablecoins, saying they have the potential to play a significant role in the payments space and that they have multiple initiatives underway. Sheffield confirmed that the company views blockchain technology and digital assets as a valuable opportunity for growth.