The chief executive of credit card giant Visa remains convinced that blockchain-based solutions can be integrated into its services and offerings to power the next generation of payments.
Speaking on a call During Visa’s annual shareholder meeting on January 24, outgoing CEO Al Kelly – who will officially step down on February 1 – briefly shared the company’s plans for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and coins private stables.
According to a January 24 report of the San Francisco Business Times, Kelly said:
“We are at the very beginning, but we continue to believe that stablecoins and central bank digital currencies have the potential to play a significant role in the payments space, and we have a number ongoing initiatives.”
“We’ve had an intangible amount of investment in crypto funds and businesses as we look to invest in the payments ecosystem,” the outgoing CEO explained.
Kelly also confirmed that Visa’s balance sheet was unaffected by some of the “high-profile failures” that rocked the cryptocurrency space in 2022:
“We had no credit loss related to these failures […] In everything we do, please know that we are extremely focused on maintaining the integrity of Visa’s payment system and the payment system as a whole and, of course, our brand reputation, which means trust.
Over the years, Visa has worked on a number of crypto-related initiatives.
His research team started working on a blockchain interoperability project in September 2021, named the Universal Payment Channel (UPC) initiative, the project was designed to establish a “network of networks” allowing CBDCs and private stablecoins to pass through various payment channels.
However, Visa has not provided an update on the UPC for over 12 months.
More recently, the payment giant announced on December 20, 2022 that it was draw a plan to enable automated bill payment from a user’s Ethereum-powered wallet.
Visa has also recently rolled out several “no-fee” cryptocurrency debit cards, including a agreement now terminated with FTX and a partnership with Blockchain.com on October 26, 2022, which is still in effect.
Visa Chairman Ryan McInerney will officially replace Al Kelly as CEO on Feb. 1, while Kelly will remain on board as executive chairman.
McInerney seems to be equally, if not more, optimistic about blockchain-based payment solutions.
In a interview with Fortune in November 2022, McInerney said Visa still has “$14 trillion in consumer-spent money that can be digitized” and they continue to explore where crypto payments could be better leveraged.