Cryptocurrency

Visa alerts additional crypto ambitions with API Pilot for financial institution clients to purchase Bitcoin

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Visa is testing a number of application programming interfaces (APIs) that banks can use to offer Bitcoin services, the payment giant announced on Wednesday.

The Visa Crypto API pilot program enables customers to “easily connect to the infrastructure of Visa partner Anchorage, a government-accredited digital asset bank, to enable their customers to buy and sell digital assets such as Bitcoin as an investment in their existing customer experiences "Visa said in a press release.

Visa envisions a product set that extends to other cryptocurrencies and stablecoins as well as other crypto services such as trading, Cuy Sheffield, Visa chief executive officer, told CoinDesk in an interview. The Digital Bank First Boulevard is the first bank involved in the pilot project. Visa has issued a waiting list for other banks.

Previously, Visa was geared towards helping crypto companies issue bank cards and has worked with 35 crypto companies to date. However, this is the first time the company has offered crypto services to banks.

Last week, Al Kelly, CEO of Visa, said in a call for profits that stablecoins could be used for “global trade,” adding, “To the extent that a particular digital currency becomes a recognized medium of exchange, there is none Reason we can't add them to our network. "

& # 39; Next phase & # 39;

"This moves into the next phase of Visa 's strategy, where we explore how Visa can also act as a bridge between thousands of financial institutions … helping them tap into the growing world of crypto assets and blockchain networks "Sheffield told CoinDesk in an interview. "We're excited to see what early testing and consumer engagement will look like for things like averaging the dollar cost of buying Bitcoin or for things like getting Bitcoin back as a reward."

Similarly, digital asset manager NYDIG has hired banking technology provider Moven to offer NYDIG's APIs to buy, sell and hold crypto for Moven's banking customers. Both products are the result of several letters from the United States Office for the Control of Currency, giving banks the green light to hold crypto and allow them to make payments and other activities using stablecoins.

The news from Visa also comes after Anchorage became the first OCC-approved national crypto bank, despite Sheffield said that Visa worked on the product with Anchorage and regulators well before it issued the custodian charter.

Creating a black crypto bank

The news also coincided with Visa’s announcement that it would partner with five black banks and fintechs to provide financial and business services to the black community.

First Boulevard, the first company to join the Visa pilot, is a digital bank developing tools for African Americans to passively build wealth. It will hit the market in early 2021. The bank plans to use the Bitcoin services and its partnership with Visa for educational purposes Donald Hawkins, President and CEO of First Boulevard, said its clients see Bitcoin as a means of eliminating the general wealth gap between black communities.

Going forward, Hawkins hopes its clients will come to the bank rather than YouTube for information about investing in crypto.

Currently, First Boulevard offers customers 15% cashback on spending in black-owned companies. Going forward, Hawkins plans to give bank customers the option to put these rewards in crypto investments or high-yield crypto savings accounts.

In addition to using the Crypto Services plugins, First Boulevard plans to partner with Visa in the area of ​​financial education.

"Crypto is a gateway to financial literacy," Sheffield said. "It's a lot easier to get people excited about money and important investment concepts just by explaining what Bitcoin is."

The bank also plans to offer resources for real estate investments as well as small investments.

Typically, banks in traditional finance have to buy into the board and management before they can play in the crypto room. On First Boulevard, jumping into the crypto was "accidental," Hawkins said.

"Our target market is Black Gen Z and Millennial women," said Hawkins. “The majority of our team consists precisely of our target market. … cryptocurrency was a hot topic in our company from the start. "

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Melinda Martin