Visa has fully embraced Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with its new announcement to launch a Visa Crypto API software program for banks to support the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
The Visa Crypto API is set to launch later this year and will be piloted by First Boulevard, the Black People-focused digital bank in Kansas. The API design will help all Visa bank clients to seamlessly integrate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Visa also revealed a partnership with Bitcoin and crypto custodian Anchorage, which will custody these digital assets on behalf of Visa clients. Anchorage recently received a national trust charter from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), making it the first national digital assets bank in the country.
Apart from offering buying, trading, and digital assets custody for their customers, Visa bank clients will allow the customers to withdraw and self-custody their crypto assets if they wish to.
The move will put Visa ahead of its biggest rival Paypal, which only allows its 346 million customers to buy and trade crypto but restricts withdrawals from its platform.
Visa Views Bitcoin as Digital Gold
The current bitcoin rally has been attributed to the massive inflow of institutional investments as more investors look to hedge against fiat inflation.
This new solidifying perspective of bitcoin as digital gold has reduced its usage as a payment method since most people are planning to hold bitcoin for the long term and therefore unwilling to spend it for frequent transactions. According to Visa’s head of crypto, Cuy Sheffield, that is why there is a higher demand to own than to spend Bitcoin.
“We see crypto assets as more than digital gold, there’s less demand to spend bitcoin.”
Visa Fully Supports Crypto for Digital Payments
Visa stated through its CEO Al Kelly that the company’s strategy is to work with wallets and exchanges to allow customers to buy or cash out crypto and use it to make fiat payments using their Visa credentials anywhere in the world.
The company has so far partnered with over 35 crypto services providers including Coinbase, Fold, Crypto.com, BlockFi, and BitPanda for the issuance of Visa debit cards. With an average of 61 million customers, Visa plans to increase its customer base to 70 million globally.
In a blog published on July 22 2020, Visa revealed the goal for its advanced approach to digital currency:
“We believe that digital currencies have the potential to extend the value of digital payments to a great number of people and places. As such we want to help shape and support the role they play in the future of money.”