Today, VISA announced an expansion of its cryptocurrency cross-border settlement program, adding the Solana blockchain. The move will allow the company to settle payments using USDC on another chain, one that has some of the fastest speeds in the crypto industry. Cuy Sheffield, Head of Crypto at VISA, made the announcement on X:
1/ We are excited to announce that Visa has expanded our stablecoin settlement capabilities to merchant acquirers launching pilots with @Worldpay_Global and @Nuvei utilizing the Solana blockchainhttps://t.co/E0TjMO5xiH
— Cuy Sheffield (@cuysheffield) September 5, 2023
The addition of Solana represents a growth in VISA’s payments settlement program. It initially started in 2021 through a partnership with Crypto.com, with VISA using USDC and the Ethereum blockchain to settle fiat payments in Australia. To date, it has settled millions of dollars’ worth of payments with the stablecoin through various pilot programs.
The official X account of Solana remarked that VISA’s decision came after months of extensive research. It noted that the Solana blockchain will bring speed of finality, negligible costs, and high throughout to VISA’s settlement program.
1/🏦Breaking: Visa Expands Stablecoin Settlement Pilot to Solana@Visa is scaling their USDC settlement pilot to include the Solana blockchain, enabling enterprise-grade throughput at virtually no cost for Visa issuers and merchant acquirers on Solana. https://t.co/rF5ouZaISM
— Solana (@solana) September 5, 2023
The press release for this announcement hailed Solana’s specs, including its 400 millisecond block times, 400 transactions per second, and frequent ability to handle high traffic.
Cuy Sheffield said in a statement that the company is helping to improve the speed of cross-border settlements by leveraging USDC and blockchains like Ethereum and Solana. They added that the VISA is committed to being at the forefront of digital currency and blockchain innovation.
VISA Tabs Two New Acquirers as Part of USDC Expansion
In addition to the Solana blockchain, VISA is expanding its settlement program to include two new acquirers: Worldpay and Nuvei. Both are payments processors that work with companies in non-traditional industries, such as Web3. Some examples of organizations they support are on-ramp providers, games, and NFT marketplaces.
Web3 companies may prefer to use USDC instead of fiat currency for processing transactions, making the two acquirers perfect for the expansion of VISA’s program. It is important to note that these Web3 companies often deal with the end-customer, a crucial relationship that affects crypto adoption.
As such, VISA’s announcement today represents a large expansion in its program — one that comes in the face of increasing regulation of the cryptocurrency industry in the United States. Its pushing forward with its plan is a good sign for the space and shows a growing trend: More innovation on the technical side of crypto, even during a bear market.
How Cross-Border Payments Work, and How Crypto Can Help
Considering VISA’s announcement, you might be wondering: What does all this mean?
Cross-border payments are a hairy part of international finance, one that involves many moving parts. Generally, there are at least two banks involved (the buyer’s in their home country and the seller’s in the country of the payment), fiat currency and fluctuating exchange rates, and general fees from all the entities involved.
VISA is a payments processor that operates globally in more than 200 countries. It uses innovative technologies combined with a worldwide set of consumers, sellers, financial institutions, businesses, and more to make the processing of payments easy. It does this through a treasury.
Its treasury keeps everything on track: The payments coming in from the buyer’s bank, the correct amount from the seller’s bank, all the exchange rate calculations, etc. In 2021, VISA’s treasury was merged to include some USDC in a first for the payments processor. The company did a whole blog post about it; it was a big event.
Now, with the Solana integration, payments will be settled faster than they were with through the Ethereum blockchain. Solana can process tens of thousands of transactions per second, while Ethereum can do fewer. And then there are the consequences of using crypto to process cross-border transactions itself:
- Transactions can be resolved quicker, because there are no banks involved
- Fees can be reduced, as blockchain fees are generally less than banking fees
Today’s announcement is a win for the industry and shows that the tech still shines. Rarity Sniper will keep an eye on this story and report back if needed.
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