- Visa has initiated a pilot program to send USDC to select merchants using the Solana blockchain
- The move aims to enhance Visa’s payment infrastructure by utilizing Solana in addition to Stellar
- Visa’s adoption of stablecoins reflects the broader trend in the financial sector, where asset tokenization is gaining traction
Payments giant Visa is delving deeper into the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology through a new partnership with Solana. In a recently announced pilot program, Visa will begin sending USDC, the second-largest stablecoin by market capitalization, to select merchants via the Solana blockchain, increasing its exposure to blockchain technology following its onboarding of USDC two and a half years ago. The move follows rival Mastercard launching its own stablecoin-cash pilot six months ago.
1/🏦Breaking: Visa Expands Stablecoin Settlement Pilot to Solana@Visa is scaling their USDC settlement pilot to include the Solana blockchain, enabling enterprise-grade throughput at virtually no cost for Visa issuers and merchant acquirers on Solana. https://t.co/rF5ouZaISM
— Solana (@solana) September 5, 2023
Two and a Half Years in the Making
Visa began working with USDC in March 2021 through a tie-in with Crypto.com and the company has seemingly been impressed enough to expand its services to the Solana blockchain. Now, Visa is taking a step further by sending USDC directly from its treasury to two large payment firms, Worldpay and Nuvei. These payment companies will, in turn, facilitate payments for merchants.
The expansion follows Visa’s comments earlier this year that it was working on a stablecoin-cash settlements platform, and this pilot appears to be the result of this plan.
Sector-wide Expansion Grows
Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s co-founder and CEO, said that expanding the pilot programme “exemplifies how pairing USDC with Visa’s innovation opens up the future of payments, commerce, and financial applications, while Visa’s head of crypto Cuy Sheffield was keen to play down the potential for faster payments as a result:
In this early stage, we’re really just giving the option to send or receive USDC instead of a bank wire, but we’re not sending money out faster or receiving money in faster necessarily. Over time, I think that there’s potential to start doing that.
Visa’s decision to embrace stablecoins and blockchain technology aligns with a broader trend in the financial sector, where interest in real-world asset tokenization is growing. These innovations, including stablecoins, not only enhance liquidity but also democratize access to assets that were traditionally illiquid.
This move by Visa is part of a wave of crypto-related products and pilot programs emerging from legacy payment companies this year, including PayPal launching its own stablecoin and Mastercard releasing its own stablecoin settlement card in March.