Visa is piloting a new product to allow banks to offer Bitcoin services

  • Visa is piloting a new suite of application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow banks to offer Bitcoin services.
  • Anchorage will be the custodian partner for Visa’s pilot program.

Just a few days ago, Visa CEO Alfred Kelly made a positive case for Bitcoin as a safe investment. Now the payment processing company is taking another big step in the direction, announcing the integration of BTC and other cryptocurrencies into its payment network.

According to a press release, Visa has partnered with First Boulevard, a bank focused on increasing wealth in the community of African descent in the United States. The cooperation will enable the bank’s customers to buy and trade cryptocurrencies and digital assets via a “new set of crypto APIs” developed by Visa. The payments giant stated:

The pilot will serve as a key first step in supporting API capabilities that help additional Visa clients access and integrate crypto features into their product offering, and is anticipated to launch later this year.

The digital bank Anchorage will be the second partner in the cooperation and will fulfill the role of custodian for funds held by the payment processor’s clients. The cooperation, Visa said, will be the “next phase” in a strategy to incorporate digital assets that it has been plotting for some time through its deals with exchanges and crypto-related service providers. Anchorage co-founder Diogo Monica said:

We set out to make Visa the bridge between digital currencies and our global network of 70 million merchants and today we are the leading network for crypto wallets with 35 crypto platforms choosing to issue with Visa. With this pilot program, we want to extend the value of Visa to our neobank and financial institution clients by providing an easy bridge to crypto assets and blockchain networks.

Visa builds a bridge between Bitcoin and his 70 million merchants

In the first stage of the pilot program, Visa’s partner bank will be able to connect to Anchorage via its network. Customers will then be able to buy and sell Bitcoin. The payment processor hopes to begin building an infrastructure to make the financial system “more secure and equitable.” Visa’s Chief Product Officer, Jack Forestell, made the following statements about the pilot program:

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Visa’s crypto APIs pilot program is a significant step forward both for the proliferation of crypto as an asset class, and for accessibility and inclusion in payments and financial services. We are thrilled to be working alongside Visa and First Boulevard to build the infrastructure for a more secure and equitable financial future.

Furthermore, Visa has enabled a waiting list for institutions wishing to be part of the trial of its new cryptocurrency trading capabilities. The waiting list can be accessed at the following link.

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The program appears to be shaping up as competition to PayPal’s crypto services. Announced in late 2020 for customers in the United States, PayPal is expected to enable its international customers to be able to purchase Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies during 2021.

More information could be presented in PayPal’s Q4 earnings report for last year that will be delivered during the course of today. This will be the first report that will take into account crypto service as part of PayPal’s operations and could reveal how much Bitcoin is being bought in the U.S. using the platform.

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About Author

Reynaldo Marquez has closely followed the growth of Bitcoin and blockchain technology since 2016. He has since worked as a columnist on crypto coins covering advances, falls and rises in the market, bifurcations and developments. He believes that crypto coins and blockchain technology will have a great positive impact on people's lives.

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