Financial institutions

Visa launches crypto advisory service for financial institutions and merchants

Visa Inc, the world’s largest payment processor, on Wednesday launched a global crypto advisory service for clients including banks and also merchants as the adoption of digital currencies gains momentum.

Visa’s move comes amid unprecedented investor demand for crypto services and the company’s latest offering is aimed at financial institutions looking to attract or retain customers with a crypto offering, retailers looking to delve into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or central banks are exploring digital currencies.

Visa’s services include educating institutions about cryptocurrencies, enabling customers to use the payment processor’s network for digital offerings, and helping manage backend operations.

“We came to Visa to learn more about crypto and stablecoins and the most relevant use cases for our commercial and retail businesses,” said Uma Wilson, executive vice president of UMB Bank, a US regional lender.

A new global study from Visa has shown that nearly 40% of crypto owners surveyed would be likely or very likely to switch their primary bank to a bank offering crypto-related products within the next 12 months.

Visa currently uses its network to enable the buying, selling and safekeeping of digital currency. It also offers a credit card that allows users to earn bitcoin on purchases and also allows the use of USD Coin, a stablecoin whose value is pegged directly to the US dollar, to settle transactions on its payment network.

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However, for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to be used as a medium of exchange, price stability is needed, Visa chief financial officer Vasant Prabhu told Reuters.

“If the price is going to fluctuate from $60,000 to $50,000 within hours, it’s very difficult for a trader to accept (bitcoin) as currency,” Prabhu said.

“I don’t know if cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will ever be a medium of exchange. Stablecoins will be,” he said, adding that Visa would facilitate such transactions when the time comes.

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