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Visa announced in late March that it will begin taking payments in the cryptocurrency USD Coin directly. 1 Visa’s decision follows Mastercard’s recent declaration that it will soon begin supporting crypto transactions.

Key Takeaways

  • Visa is now immediately taking payments in the cryptocurrency USD Coin.
  • USD Coin is a stablecoin that is pegged to the US dollar, with one USD Coin representing one dollar.
  • Previously, Visa’s debit cards needed conversion from digital currencies to a conventional currency accepted by Visa.
  • Visa said it would support new central digital bank currencies when they become available.

How Visa Came to Accept USD Coin

Visa has been working on a crypto-based rewards debit card alongside, which does commerce in digital currency, for many years. However, since Visa paid transactions on such cards on a daily basis, was compelled to convert the digital currencies exchanged into fiat currencies such as the US dollar.

This procedure was expensive, complicated, and time-consuming. So, in 2019, Visa suggested allowing digital currency settlements via a public blockchain through its partner Anchorage, the first federally licensed digital asset bank.

Visa opted to trial the new program utilizing USD Coin after updating its infrastructure for two years. USD Coin is a stablecoin, which means that, although it is powered by Ethereum, its market value is pegged to the US dollar, providing more price stability.

Furthermore, USD Coin has a well-defined set of compliance and regulatory mechanisms in place, which provides greater trust than other cryptocurrencies, which are decentralized and uncontrolled.

Visa’s Plans for the Future

Visa said it would not stop with USD Coin, but will add other stablecoins to its settlement platform. The firm intends to support central bank digital currencies (CBDC) when they become accessible. CBDCs are digital currency issued directly to people by a country’s central bank.

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Several nations are well on their way to developing a CBDC framework, while the majority are still researching the idea. According to the Bank for International Settlements, around 80% of nations’ central banks were participating in CBDC activity in 2019. 2

Experts believe that although cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin sparked the cryptocurrency discourse, stablecoins such as USD Coin will likely pave the road for general acceptance and use.

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