Hype surrounding digital assets like Bitcoin does not appear to be dying down – and with good reason. Since the start of 2020, we have seen multiple announcements indicative of, and fueling, institutional adoption of digital assets (ETF applications, IPOs, etcetera).
Today, payment processing giant, Visa, is making headlines again as the company announces its plan to launch a service built to bridge the traditional banking sector with that of digital assets.
Visa Crypto APIs
The game plan from Visa, was to establish working relationships with service providers within the digital security sector. Once achieved, it would then provide traditional banks access to services offered by these companies, through a suite of ‘application program interfaces (APIs).
One example of a service provider scheduled to service participating banks is Anchorage. As a federally chartered digital asset bank, Anchorage can offer regulated buy/sell services both assets like Bitcoin. Notably, Visa headlined a past $40M capital raise by Anchorage.
Adding to the promise of this service, is that Visa has already established a pilot program which will see First Boulevard -a digital bank based out of Kansas- take part. While this pilot program should soon commence, Visas Crypto API service is expected to fully launch in the latter half of 2021.
We have all seen the effects of PayPal diving into the world of digital assets. While massive, PayPal is only one company. If Visa successfully drives adoption of this upcoming service, the resulting effects will have the potential to dwarf that of PayPal.
As promising as the Crypto API suite is, Visa has plans to act as more than a bridging service. The company has recently indicated that it is looking in the possibility of bringing digital asset support to its own networks.
Visa CEO, Al Kelly, recently stated,
“Today, 35 of the leading digital currency platforms and wallets have already chosen to issue Visa…These wallet relationships represent the potential for more than 50 million Visa credentials…It goes without saying, to the extent a specific digital currency becomes a recognized means of exchange, there’s no reason why we cannot add it to our network, which already supports over 160 currencies today.”
For those that follow digital assets, it may not come as a surprise to learn about this interest in the sector by Visa. This interest has long been on display, a made evident through various patents, and previously announced partnerships.