Payment Giant, VISA, Targets Stablecoin Settlements

According to a presentation by the company’s head of crypto at StarkWare Sessions 2023, payments company Visa aims to build “muscle memory” around settlements and plans to allow customers to convert digital assets to fiat currencies on its platform.

“We’ve been testing how to actually accept settlement payments from issuers in USDC starting on Ethereum and paying out in USDC (USDC) on Ethereum. So, these are large value settlement payments,” Cuy Sheffield said during a fireside chat at the event.

Global settlements involving digital assets and fiat currencies are one of the avenues Visa is investing in, according to the executive. In particular, he pointed out:

“That’s been one of the areas where we want to build muscle memory. The same way that we can convert between dollars in euros on a cross-border transaction, we should be able to convert between digital tokenized dollars and traditional dollars.”

VISA Exploring Use of Blockchain for Payments and Settlements

The payments giant has been exploring how to integrate blockchain technology into its existing network to move funds faster, but settlements still take place through the system of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, an independent group of European bankers co-operative aimed at it aims to enable secure and standardized transactional communication between its members.

“We set all over Swift, so we can’t move money as frequently as we’d like because there are a number of limitations that exist in those networks. And so, we’ve been experimenting, we publicly announced. We’ve been testing how to actually accept settlement payments [with stablecoins],” Sheffield explained.

In a recent speech at Visa’s annual general meeting, former CEO Kelly briefly shared the company’s plans for central bank digital currencies (CBDCS) and private stablecoins, claiming that “stablecoins and central bank digital currencies have the potential to play an important role in the… to play payment transactions”.

Sheffield confirmed the company’s views on blockchain technology and digital assets. “We are looking at how we can leverage some of the value that Visa offers on the existing banking track and rebuild existing forms of transcendence on the blockchain track using a stable board. When we think there’s a great opportunity in this space, it just keeps popping up.