Visa's Q1 earnings call reveals details about its crypto strategy

Visa dedicated a section to crypto during its Q1 2021 earnings call today. In his prepared remarks, CEO Alfred Kelly said Visa is poised to make crypto payments safer and more widely used through its partnership approach. 

Kelly said Visa plans to work with wallets and exchanges to enable Visa users to purchase crypto-assets, and to allow users to cash out and make fiat purchases with their crypto.

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During the call, Kelly described how the payments giant sees digital assets. At the moment, Visa sees two classes of digital assets, according to Kelly. Those that represent new assets, like bitcoin, Visa views as "digital gold," and those that are fiat-backed, including stablecoins and central bank digital currencies. He called the second category "an emerging payments innovation that could have the potential to be used for global commerce."

Kelly also teased the possibility of Visa enabling crypto as a payment itself, rather than converting crypto to fiat for payments. 

"It goes without saying to the extent 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," said Kelly.

About Author

Aislinn Keely is a reporter on The Block's policy team holding down the legal beat. She covers court decisions, bankruptcies, regulatory actions and other key moments in the legal sphere, putting them in context for the wider crypto industry. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV and helmed Fordham University's student newspaper. Send tips or thoughts on all things policy and legal to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter for updates @AislinnKeely.