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Payment processing giant Visa has announced that it is working on a crypto API program that will enable banks to offer cryptocurrency services. This was revealed in a press release on Wednesday and could herald a new era for the payment company.
Major Step Towards Crypto Integration
Visa has partnered with First Boulevard, a Kansas-based digital bank, to pilot the crypto API program. Bitcoin and crypto custodian Anchorage will hold the bitcoin and cryptocurrencies on behalf of Visa clients. The U.S Office of the Currency recently approved a national trust charter making Anchorage the first U.S national digital bank.
Also, Banks will allow users to withdraw their bitcoins to their self custody wallets using Visa’s crypto API service. Visa envisions that the product will be able to extend to other cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. There are also plans to integrate other services, including crypto trading and saving features.
The announcement means that Visa will be offering crypto services to banks for the first time. This is a significant shift in the payment giant’s policy, which had previously focused on crypto companies. It also coincided with news that Visa will be partnering with five black banks to provide financial services that focus on the black community.
Chief Product Officer of Visa Jack Forestell revealed that the program was part of the payment giant expansion plans. “With this pilot program, we want to extend the value of Visa to our neobank and financial institution clients by providing an easy bridge to crypto assets and blockchain networks,” he added.
Good News for Crypto Adoption
Visa’s decision to offer cryptocurrency services to banks could respond to the recent gains made by rival firm PayPal. PayPal had surprised the financial space when it announced plans to allow its 300 million users to buy and trade cryptocurrencies in October.
PayPal has recorded massive success with its crypto services despite criticism of users’ inability to withdraw cryptocurrencies from the platform. Visa will be hoping to record similar gains once the crypto APIs get deployed within partner banks’ systems. This development represents a huge one for the crypto space and brings cryptocurrency closer to mainstream adoption.