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Visa to enable conversion of digital assets into traditional currencies

Visa has been experimenting with accepting settlement payments in USDC on the Ethereum blockchain and paying out in USDC on Ethereum

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: Feb 6, 2023 04:18:16 PM IST

Visa to enable conversion of digital assets into traditional currenciesImage: Shutterstock

The payment company Visa aims to establish a familiar process for settlements by enabling customers to convert digital assets into traditional currencies on its platform. This information was shared by Cuy Sheffield, the head of Visa's crypto division, during a presentation at the StarkWare Sessions 2023.

According to Sheffield, the company has been experimenting with accepting settlement payments in USDC on the Ethereum blockchain and paying out in USDC on Ethereum. These payments are for large-value settlements.

Sheffield stated that the company is investing in global settlements using digital assets and fiat currencies. He explained that they want to create a familiar process, similar to converting between dollars and euros in cross-border transactions, for converting between tokenised digital dollars and traditional dollars.

Visa is investigating how to incorporate blockchain technology into its existing infrastructure to speed up money transfers. However, at present, settlements are still conducted through the SWIFT system, which is a cooperative society established by European bankers to provide secure and standardised communication for transactions between its members.

Sheffield explained that their current system operates over SWIFT, which limits the frequency of money transfers. As a result, the company has been conducting experiments, including accepting settlement payments using stablecoins, to address these limitations.
During a recent annual shareholder meeting for Visa, former CEO Al Kelly briefly discussed the company's plans for central bank digital currencies and private stablecoins. He stated that stablecoins and CBDCs have the potential to significantly impact the payment industry and that the company has multiple ongoing initiatives in this area.

Sheffield confirmed Visa's perspective on blockchain technology and digital assets, saying that the company is considering how to bring the value it provides through traditional banking channels to the blockchain using stablecoins. He stated that they believe there are substantial opportunities in this area and that they are keeping a close eye on its growth.

The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash