- Visa has partnered with Circle Internet Financial, the company behind the $2.9 billion USDC stablecoin.
- The partnership will allow select Visa credit card issuers to integrate USDC payments, potentially availing it to 60 million merchants.
Global credit card giant Visa has partnered with Circle Internet Financial, the company behind the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin. Visa will issue a credit card that lets businesses send and receive USDC payments directly, the company revealed.
While Visa itself won’t custody the stablecoin, the partnership will see Circle working with Visa to help integrate the USDC software into their platforms and send and receive USDC payments. Circle has joined the Visa Fast Track Program, Visa’s head of cryptocurrency Cuy Sheffield told Forbes.
The program gives fintech firms turnkey access to Visa’s ecosystem partners, APIs and market toolkits, and allows them to issue Visa credit cards. Circle itself will graduate from the Fast Track program next year, enabling Visa to issue a credit card that lets businesses send and receive USDC payments directly from any business using the card.
Sheffield remarked, “This will be the first corporate card that will allow businesses to be able to spend a balance of USDC. And so we think that this will significantly increase the utility that USDC can have for Circle’s business clients.”
The partnership will avail USDC payments to over 60 million merchants, ushering in a new era of growth for the stablecoin. USDC launched in September 2018 is now the second-most valuable stablecoin after Tether. With a $2.9 billion market cap, it’s the 13th most valuable cryptocurrency in the world.
Despite the surge in market cap, USDC’s utility in payments has been minimal. The new partnership with Visa is seeking to change this. As per Visa’s estimates, $120 trillion in payments are made annually through checks and instant wire transfers. These payments cost $50 each, regardless of payment size.
USDC could revolutionize this market, allowing near-instant transfers for a few cents, Sheffield told Forbes. According to Mike Novogratz this is massively bullish news for the entire crypto market.
— Mike Novogratz (@novogratz) December 2, 2020
Visa’s footprint in the cryptocurrency industry
The Circle partnership is the latest for Visa, with the credit card giant gaining a rising presence in the cryptocurrency industry. As Crypto News Flash reported, the company is planning on integrating Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple payments.
In February this year, Coinbase became the first ‘pure-play’ cryptocurrency company to become a Visa principal member. This partnership led to the launch of the Coinbase Card in the U.S. a month ago. As Coinbase revealed, U.S. customers can now spend cryptocurrencies everywhere Visa cards are accepted. The American exchange is incentivizing its users by allowing them to earn 4% back in cryptocurrency rewards for using the card.
In addition to Circle, Visa has onboarded 25 cryptocurrency wallets into its Fast Track Program. These wallets will now be able to integrate USDC payments. Aside from partnerships, Visa has also become an active investor in cryptocurrency startups.
The company dipped its toes in the industry last year, leading a $40 million Series B funding round in Anchorage. The startup builds cryptocurrency custody and storage infrastructure. Sheffield explained Visa’s model:
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.