Visa to allow payment settlements using cryptocurrency

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Due to what it describes as increasing demand, Visa has announced it will now allow the use of the cryptocurrency USD Coin to settle transactions on its payment network.

“We see increasing demand from consumers across the world to be able to access, hold and use digital currencies and we’re seeing demand from our clients to be able to build products that provide that access for consumers,” Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, said.

This is the latest development, signaling growing acceptance of digital currencies by major financial institutions.

Visa, the credit card giant that moves billions of dollars daily in 200 markets is already partnering with 35 digital currency platforms, including Coinbase, Crypto.com, BlockFi and Bitpanda, which collectively have more than 50 million active users, according to Forbes.

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Currently, the settlement process requires Visa’s business partners to settle transactions in fiat currency that the company accepts, meaning part of a partner’s crypto treasury reserves would have to be converted at an additional cost of a conversion rate.

For instance, if a customer chooses to use a Crypto.com Visa card to pay for a coffee, the digital currency held in a cryptocurrency wallet needs to be converted into traditional money.

Visa’s latest announcement means that its partners will now be able to settle payments with the company directly in USDC, no conversion is needed.

“We’ve found that many of our crypto partners are building on top of and are using USDC,” with many of them paying their employees and vendors with the stablecoin, says Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa. “It was a natural fit.”

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The move comes as major finance institutions including BNY Mellon, BlackRock and Mastercard have embraced some digital coins, sparking predictions that cryptocurrencies will soon become a regular part of investment portfolios.

Last month, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk announced that customers can now buy its electric vehicles with bitcoin, marking a significant step forward for the cryptocurrency’s use in business transactions.