Al Kelly, CEO of Visa, predicts that cryptocurrencies could be very common within five years. He’s working on a Visa position in the middle of this as the crypto-currency boom happens. He further confirmed that Visa is working on enabling bitcoin purchases, in addition to allowing cryptocurrencies to be used in the 70 million stores where Visa is accepted.
Visa expects extreme mainstream cryptographic transition
In Tuesday’s Leadership Next podcast with Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt, Visa CEO Al Kelly talked about the company’s strategy towards the crypto currency Bitcoin. He was asked what the recent rise in the price of bitcoin means for his lending business.
I would divide crypto into two areas, Kelly began. One is a more speculative asset or digital gold, he explained, adding that he puts bitcoin in that category. The CEO has evolved:
There are two things we are trying to do in this category. One is the ability to buy bitcoins with Visa certificates.
Second, Visa works with some bitcoin wallets, allowing bitcoin to be converted into fiat currency for immediate use at any of the 70 million locations around the world where Visa is accepted, Kelly added.
Digital coins are another category of crypto, he continued, adding:
We see great potential for them to become a new payment method. In fact, in some emerging markets it could be an accelerator, if we look at the world.
He further stated that Visa works with many players in this category. We work with about 35 different players, he explained, and these are all fiat currencies backed by banks.
His statement echoes what Visa said at its first-quarter 2021 earnings conference. Our strategy is to partner with wallets and exchanges to allow users to purchase these currencies with their Visa credentials or redeem our Visa credentials to make a notional purchase at one of the 70 million merchants where Visa is accepted worldwide, the company told shareholders.
During Tuesday’s podcast, Kelly was also asked about Visa’s stance on using cryptocurrencies to lower transaction fees, so users don’t have to pay Visa and Mastercard as much as they do now.
What I love about our company is that we don’t pick winners and losers, he says. As we sit here talking today, I don’t know how widespread cryptocurrencies will become. In five years we’ll say it was a whim and it’s not serious? Or will it be very popular? I’m not smart enough to know that, but I’m smart enough to make sure that our company is involved in this today so that when it gets going, we can help move the money.
He then compared Visa’s business model of today with that of the past, explaining that Visa used to focus on people using its products to buy and sell goods and services. Today, we have transformed the company into one that moves money around the world, so we want to be at the heart of every dollar that comes in, he reiterated emphatically:
If it spreads and we can get our share or most of the volume, because we expect it to spread and become big business, we obviously want to be prepared for that, and I think we have made a very good start.
What do you think of Visa’s bitcoin strategy? Let us know your comments in the section below.
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