Cryptocurrency’s journey towards mass adoption has sometimes appeared in danger of being derailed during the past 12 months but there have been enough positives to maintain momentum and, in the past week, an announcement from Visa was nothing short of a turbo boost.
The global payments giant has shown its strongest crypto commitment yet by announcing it had been working with digital currency platforms like Coinbase and Fold to “provide a bridge between digital currencies” and its global network of 61 million merchants.
Visa’s statement said: “Around the world, more than 25 digital currency wallets have linked their services to Visa, giving users an easy way to spend from their digital currency balance using a Visa debit or prepaid credential — anywhere Visa is accepted.
“Through these efforts, Visa has become the preferred network for digital currency wallets, which are eager to deepen their value to users by making it quicker and easier to spend digital currency worldwide.”
Unsurprisingly, the crypto community is happy and the news had a positive effect on the price of Bitcoin.
After severe setbacks to Facebook’s Libra programme, which at one time looked like crypto’s best hope of mainstream adoption, this is welcome news to believers.
Earlier this year, we saw Lloyd’s of London put some of its eggs in the blockchain basket, with the formation of a dedicated digital asset insurance policy and Visa has become the latest respected organisation from the “traditional” world of finance to show faith in crypto.
Aside from generating public confidence in crypto, perhaps more importantly is the role organisations as powerful as Visa can play in shifting the mindset of regulators. Visa, and others, can use their influence to convince the many doubters in authority that blockchain is the future of finance.
Visa’s statement continued: “Currencies on a range of issues, from consumer protection to payments resilience. We believe the best way to address these concerns is by working closely with leading companies and the public sector. For more than 60 years, Visa has invested in building and maintaining a resilient global network that delivers best in class functionality to our clients and consumers. Extending this legacy into the decades ahead requires continuous innovation and collaboration with a range of partners.
“As part of this public sector strategy, Visa has been engaging with policy makers and global organizations to help shape the dialogue and understanding of digital currencies; this includes our work with the World Economic Forum and our collaboration on a set of policy recommendations for central banks exploring the concept of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
“We believe that digital currencies have the potential to extend the value of digital payments to a greater number of people and places. As such, we want to help shape and support the role they play in the future of money.”
A phrase like “the future of money” is music to the ears of the blockchain believers.