Visa CEO Al Kelly Bets Big on Blockchain-Based Stablecoins, CBDCs Days Before Stepping Down

Al Kelly, the CEO of payments giant Visa, has spoken in favour of blockchain-based payments solutions that are bound to revolutionise the future of the fintech industry. Kelly has pegged his hopes on stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), both of which are powered by blockchains, to open newer and faster ways to facilitate day-to-day as well as hefty payments. The chief of Visa made these statements just days before he steps down from his current designation.

Visa, founded in 1958, is geared up to participate in experiments around the development and use cases of CBDCs and private stablecoins, Kelly hinted during its recently held annual stockholder meeting. “It’s very early days, but we continue to believe that stablecoins and Central Bank Digital Currencies have the potential to play a meaningful role in the payments space, and we have a number of initiatives underway,” a CoinTelegraph report quoted Kelly as saying.

While CBDCs are blockchain representations of fiat currencies, private stablecoins are digital assets that trade in the crypto market, but their values largely depend on their underlaying reserve assets such as gold or the US dollar.

The market sentiment has no effect on CBDCs, whereas stablecoins manage to latch onto the values of their reserved assets to record better prices than other cryptocurrencies.

Despite the recent slump in the crypto sector, Kelly said, Visa did not record any snags in its balance sheets. The company plans to keep exploring the crypto sector as it vouches to play its part in driving the adoption of promising next generation of payment ecosystems.

At present, several nations including India, China, and Russia among others, are working on their respective CBDCs. On the other hand, stablecoins such as USD Coin, Binance USD, Ripple, and Tether rope-in profits on days other altcoins struggle with volatility.

The company plans to keep innovating with CBDCs and stablecoins going forward.

Visa had revealed in January last year that its customers processed $2.5 billion (roughly Rs. 18,685 crore) in payments using its crypto-linked cards during the first fiscal quarter of 2022. That volume, when put into perspective, accounted for over 70 percent of all crypto-card volume, signalling an increase in the adoption of crypto payments during those months.

In December last year, Visa proposed a functionality that would enable users to make their telephone and electricity payments via self-custodial crypto wallets. This application could allow a user to setup a programmable payment instruction that can push funds automatically from one self-custodial wallet account to another at recurring intervals, eliminating the need for users to manually sign off each transaction.

The company has also launched a creator programme to help digital-age artists understand and use NFTs.

Kelly, who has served as the head honcho of Visa since 2016, is set to step down from his position in February. Ryan McInerney, the current President of Visa, will succeed Kelly as the CEO of the company.


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