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Visa Plans to Enable Bitcoin Payments at 70 Million Merchants

Visa seemingly plans to follow in PayPal's fresh footsteps as it works to adopt Bitcoin.

The firm's CEO Alfred Kelly said on Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast on Tuesday that the payment processing behemoth is willing to facilitate not only bitcoin purchases, but also spending functionalities, and in a big way:

We’re trying to do two things. One is to enable the purchase of Bitcoin on Visa credentials. And secondly, working with Bitcoin wallets to allow the Bitcoin to be translated into a fiat currency and therefore immediately be able to be used at any of the 70 million places around the world where Visa is accepted.

According to Kelly, Visa is working hard to earn its role as an intermediary in financial transactions even after Bitcoin sees mainstream adoption. Other than Bitcoin, the payment processor also plans to allow for the use of stablecoins. He admitted that the company recognizes “a strong potential for those to become a new payment vehicle.” Kelly said Visa is collaborating with about 35 partners involved with stablecoins, explaining that "these are currencies that are fiat-backed, but we’re allowing this translation, if you will, into a fiat currency and in a wallet where there’s a Visa card and again that Visa card can be used with the translated digital currency over to the fiat currency to purchase at any one of our 70 million locations."

This is seemingly referring to Visa's partnership with Circle, the firm behind the USDC stablecoin. According to a report released by Forbes at the end of 2020, the payment processing giant partnered with Circle to integrate USDC into its infrastructure and allow credit card issuers to use USD Coin on their platforms and send and receive USDC payments. Visa's head of crypto Cuy Sheffield said at the time:

We continue to think of Visa as a network of networks. […] Blockchain networks and stablecoins, like USDC, are just additional networks. So we think that there’s a significant value that Visa can provide to our clients, enabling them to access them and enabling them to spend at our merchants.

Last month, Visa also launched the pilot test of its API meant to allow banks to offer services revolving around Bitcoin and other digital assets. As the BTC Times reported at the time, neobankFirst Boulevard will be the first to use it to purchase, custody, and trade digital assets such as Bitcoin.

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Dariusz is a tech enthusiast passionate about futurology who was deeply transformed when he discovered Bitcoin in 2012 and understood its profound implications. He soon realized that states lost control over money in January 2009.