Visa and ConsenSys team up on CBDC tech

Quick Take

  • Visa and ConsenSys have been consulting with central banks around the world on new tech for central bank digital currencies. 
  • The pair are now looking into pilot cases to test usability.

Visa has teamed up with blockchain tech provider ConsenSys in order to develop new infrastructure that will support the rollout of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Catharine Gu, head of CBDC at Visa, told The Block that the pair has been consulting with central banks around the world about its development and potential. 

The new Visa and ConsenSys tech will be able to plug into existing payments modules, meaning companies will be able to integrate infrastructure to issue things like CBDC-linked payment cards or wallet credentials. It is designed to provide an on-ramp for existing networks. 

The pair are in the process of integrating the Visa payment module with the ConsenSys infrastructure, so that the platform can be ready to tap into enterprise blockchain technology. 

Gu said they are now looking into pilot cases to test usability in the spring. 

“The next two to three years will be critical” in understanding the role CBDC will play in payments systems in the future, she said. “The key challenge is understanding how new forms of money can coexist with existing means of payments and existing systems.”

Shailee Adinolfi, director of strategic sales at ConsenSys added that interoperability is also a challenge. “We’re looking at addressing problems in a hands-on fashion,” she added. 

CBDCs are a hot topic among both businesses and policymakers. Payment-watchers have questioned their use cases as well as the potential impact on the banking system. 

ConsenSys is already helping Australia, France, Hong Kong and Thailand develop CBDCs. Adinolfi said that it had seen ethereum most commonly requested by governments in development due to its credentials for scalability and privacy. 

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