Visa Says It’s Not Slowing Down Plans for Crypto Products

Payments company Visa has said it is not slowing down with its cryptocurrency plans—despite news reports hinting otherwise amid a brutal bear market. 

The U.S. company’s Head of Crypto Cuy Sheffield said in a series of tweets Tuesday that a Reuters story claiming both Visa and Mastercard were slowing down their crypto push was “inaccurate” when it comes to Visa.

He added that “despite the challenges and uncertainty in the crypto ecosystem,” Visa believes that “fiat backed digital currencies running on public blockchains have the potential to play an important role in the payments ecosystem.” 

Visa has been working with the crypto space for sometime but things have slowed down as of late: In November, it ended its global credit card agreements with failed crypto exchange FTX. 

The company had announced plans to roll out cards to 40 new countries as part of a “long-term global partnership”—but pulled the plug when the crypto company went bust. 

FTX went bankrupt in a highly publicized crash and is now being investigated for criminal mismanagement. Prosecutors allege the firm commingled customer funds; its ex-boss Sam Bankman-Fried is now facing 12 criminal charges. 

Visa also filed new trademark applications back in October, which hinted at potential plans for a crypto wallet and a metaverse product. Crypto wallets, such as MetaMask or Phantom, are used to store digital assets like Bitcoin or Ethereum and make payments. Meanwhile, the metaverse refers to a shared virtual world online, and has become a focal point for various crypto and fintech companies.

The collapse of the mega exchange FTX and the contagion that has followed is forcing U.S. lawmakers and regulators to come up with new ideas on how to regulate the space. 

A Visa spokesperson told Decrypt: “Recent high-profile failures in the crypto sector are an important reminder that we have a long way to go before crypto becomes a part of mainstream payments and financial services.”

The spokesperson added that Visa remains “focused on growing our core competencies in Web3 infrastructure layers and evaluating the blockchain protocols driving crypto development.”

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Written by Mathew Di Salvo on 2023-02-28 20:21:14.

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