Visa Working on Stablecoin-cash Settlements

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  • Visa is working on stablecoin to cash settlements on its network
  • The company is looking for a way round the restrictive SWIFT system
  • Visa has been working on crypto integration since 2021

Payment giant Visa is working on a way for stablecoin holders to swap their coins for cash on its network, according to the head of its crypto division. Speaking at the StarkWare Sessions 2023, Cuy Sheffield said that working within the existing SWIFT system was causing headaches and so the company is testing other mechanisms of swapping stablecoins for fiat currencies, adding that the company wanted to build “muscle memory” for users and make swapping stablecoins into cash as easy as foreign exchange swaps.

Visa Plans Two Years in the Making

Visa has been pushing the crypto boat for a few years now, going back to its plans to allow for bitcoin conversions in 2021. This process is being used by the likes of Coinbase, whose Coinbase Card automatically switches crypto to fiat at the point of sale. In March 2021 Visa announced it was trialing USDC settlements, and just a few months later it said it was planning for CBDC integration too.

These plans have now been expanded to include stablecoin settlements, with Sheffield explaining at the two-day Ethereum conference in Tel Aviv that Visa has been “testing how to actually accept settlement payments from issuers in USDC starting on Ethereum and paying out in USDC on Ethereum.” He then expanded on what the ultimate aim is:

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.

SWIFT System Has “Limitations”

Sheffield also noted the issues in dealing with the existing SWIFT system used by most banks, saying that “we can’t move money as frequently as we’d like because there are a number of limitations that exist in those networks”, which has prompted the move to stablecoins.

No details over public trials were announced, but hopefully 2023 will see such a development.