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Visa Launches Crypto Consulting Services in Push for Mainstream Adoption

Visa is launching new consulting and advisory services to help its clients navigate the world of cryptocurrencies. The payments processor said Wednesday its crypto advisory practice, housed within its consulting and analytics division, will offer advice to financial institutions, retailers, and other firms on everything from rolling out crypto features to exploring non-fungible tokens.

Visa named American bank UMB as a client already using its crypto advisory services. The move marks latest attempt to push deeper into the crypto industry. From Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, the company processed $3.5 billion in digital currency transactions through its crypto-linked card schemes, according to Nikola Plecas, European crypto lead.

Plecas said that some of these leading exchanges have millions or tens of millions of users, adding that the company allows users to spend their crypto at over 80 million merchants. The company is also developing products geared toward stablecoins virtual tokens tied to the value of sovereign currencies, typically the dollar and central bank-issued digital currencies.Visa hopes its crypto consultancy can help further mainstream adoption of bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Mastercard, the credit card giant, sees cryptocurrencies as a critical growth opportunity as it expands into areas beyond card payments. Major payment networks have faced increased competition from an influx of new financial upstarts in recent years.Emerging trends such as open banking, which aims to open up consumer bank information and payment capabilities to rival fintech, threaten to disrupt their business model. Visa is also under pressure from large tech companies. Amazon last month said it would stop accepting  credit cards in the U.K. due to the company’s “high fees.” The e-commerce titan has taken similar steps against Visa in Australia and Singapore.

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