Visa Integrating Cryptocurrency Services into Brazilian Banks

Visa Inc, the world’s largest retail electronic payments network, has begun working on integrating cryptocurrency services into traditional banking systems in Brazil.

Eduardo Abreu, Visa’s Vice President of New Business in Brazil, had a recent interview with a local media outlet, Seu Dinheiro. The executive disclosed that Visa corporation is working on integrating cryptocurrencies into its platform for both payments and a store of value.

Abreu talked about the development and said that Visa is working with several fintech firms in Brazil to bring cryptocurrency payments cards to the local market. The executive disclosed that the corporation is developing applications (APIs) to connect traditional banks with cryptographic products.

The VP of VISA further said that the company is working with several Brazilian companies, including Zro Bank, Alterbank, and Rippio, to create cryptocurrency cards and allow users to link their accounts to such crypto services via their bank accounts.  

Abreu also revealed that Visa is developing a business-to-business blockchain that will allow local fintech firms to settle payments using smart contracts. And such a blockchain system would enable financial providers to verify deposits and payments and therefore enhance transparency.

The executive mentioned that the blockchain system is already in testing phases with some of their clients and said that Visa would make further announcements soon regarding the project.

Abreu stated that Visa would start testing direct crypto payments in Brazil shortly to explore how the blockchain system enables the transfer of Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrency transactions into other accounts such as bank accounts.   

Unlike conventional cryptocurrency cards, which requires a mediator to convert Bitcoin for fiat money, this system would eliminate the need for an intermediary.   

Although the Visa executive has not given a specific timeline for the launch, it is expected within the next few coming months. Visa aims to bridge a gap between cryptocurrencies and the existing banking system in a country with rising crypto adoption.

In the interview, Abreu stated that greater adoption would require integrating traditional banking activities within the cryptocurrency ecosystem so that customers can transact with crypto and fiat in the same environment.

“The great advantage of adopting Bitcoin is, without a doubt, its ease. Without needing to exchange a fiat currency, there is an optimisation of exchanges when using Bitcoin,” said Abreu.

Visa Cryptocurrency Solutions

Visa, which already provides180 currencies on its platform and aims to leverage its 170 million customers across the world, wants to be a leader in the booming crypto industry.

In March, the payment giant announced plans to work with Bitcoin wallets to enable the conversion of BTC to fiat currencies, marking a milestone for the 62-year-old company.

Visa is currently working with several crypto firms such as Anchorage,, and others, issuing Visa-powered cards for cryptocurrency payments and transactions.

Visa wants to eliminate the hassle of requiring customers to convert their crypto holdings into fiat currency before settling their accounts on the Visa network. The firm plans to expand the feature to other members of its payment networks and other digital currencies later this year. 

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Mastercard Will Let Merchants Accept Payments in Crypto This Year

Mastercard is planning to give merchants the option to receive payments in cryptocurrency later this year.

According to a source familiar with the matter, the functionality will see Mastercard customers’ digital currency payments settled in crypto at participating merchants, a first for the financial giant. The company has not yet disclosed which digital currencies it intends to support, or where.

The details shed new light on CEO Michael Miebach’s Q4 pledge to integrate digital currency payments “directly on our network” in a move the new chief, helming his first earnings call on Jan. 28, said will provide maximal flexibility to customers and merchants alike.

Previously, Mastercard supported limited cryptocurrency transactions through its cryptocard partners Wirex and Uphold. But those programs only cover payment, not settlement; the coins are converted to fiat currency well before reaching the merchant.

The new initiative promises to upend that dynamic among the store owners and businesses who opt in. They will be able to conduct their business beyond the bounds of the fiat ecosystem, assuming, of course, their customers have crypto they’re willing to spend. 

That’s hardly a safe bet given the buy-and-hold mantra pervading the world’s largest cryptocurrency. The source pointed out most bitcoin buyers primarily treat their coins as investment vehicles, not payment tools. And the source underscored there’s no guarantee Mastercard’s crypto settlement initiative will support bitcoin. 

Instead, cryptos will be evaluated against Mastercard’s 2019 “Principles for Blockchain Partnerships” framework, the source said. Released in the wake of Mastercard’s Libra exit, the document placed emphasis on stability, consumer protection and regulatory compliance in vetting potential partners.

“Many of today’s 2,600 digital currencies today fail to do this,” Mastercard said at the time.

Relatively few merchants currently accept crypto, bitcoin or no. Tesla’s stated plans to sell cars for bitcoin remains a hypothetical. A widespread crypto economy is still far from reality.

But Mastercard has been laying the groundwork for that future through years of patents around the digital currency space. The company said it holds 89 blockchain patents and is waiting for approval on an additional 285 around the world.

In the U.S. those filings have included: methods to keep crypto transactions private, on-chain credit card payment verification, instant blockchain payment processing and how to handle crypto refunds, among others.  

Mastercard first filed a patent for handling bitcoin payments in 2013 but abandoned that effort in 2015. It began hiring a team of wallet developers and crypto veterans in 2019. The company now hosts a platform through which central banks can test digital currencies. 

The payments space is rushing to support blockchain-based currencies at a pace not seen since Bitcoin pioneered the concept of stateless, peer-to-peer immutable transactions in 2009. PayPal intends to roll out bitcoin payment functionality later this year. Visa’s CEO said the rival company may add crypto payments in the future. 



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