Bitcoin was invented to disrupt existing monetary systems that many felt were too expensive and exclusionary. With this in mind, it was given a much broader value proposition than a deflationary issuance policy and hard cap of 21 million units. Through the novel use of blockchain technology, it also allows anyone to send money to a counterpart around the world in a few minutes for fractions of a dollar.
This functionality placed incumbent payment platforms such as card networks and interbank messaging systems directly in bitcoin’s crosshairs. While some firms dismissed these concerns, others saw the potential and looked for ways to derive value for their partners and shareholders.
To investigate this issue further, we recently spoke with the two Visa
Excerpted from Forbes CryptoAsset & Blockchain Advisor.
Forbes: Can you talk a little bit about how blockchain and crypto fall within the organization and your respective roles?
Terry: The short answer is that it’s distributed. Inside of Visa, we have a number of groups that are either building products that are based on blockchain technology or engaging with clients who are involved in the crypto industry. We also have pockets in Visa Research, our B2B teams and our core network teams.
Forbes: Cuy, as Visa’s head of crypto can you talk a little about how you are approaching this new industry?
Cuy: My main role is to understand how our growing set of clients, meaning fintech companies that may be adding crypto business lines or firms that are natively crypto, can leverage Visa’s existing products. Specifically, my responsibilities fall into three buckets. First, I work closely with the partnerships team. We have close relationships with a number of the leading crypto wallets and exchanges, and we help them access our network of over 60 million merchants. As part of that mission, we work with Visa initiatives such as the Fast Track Program, where we help crypto partners that want to issue Visa credentials. Second, we partner with Visa Research to study the underlying technologies behind digital currencies. Third, we try to identify new use cases in payment flows for which digital currencies could be well suited.
Forbes: Visa recently published an article on its blog titled, Advancing our approach to digital currency, which consolidated a lot of your recent activities into one concise document. What was the impetus behind its creation and why was now the right time to release it?
Cuy: We’ve been advancing our work on digital currency, both on the product and research side, for the last two years. However, while the strategy has continued to evolve, we haven’t talked about it very much. In this vacuum, we’ve seen different narratives and speculation about our activities, so the post was primarily to articulate why Visa is investing in and spending time on digital currencies. We also wanted to lay out some of the principles that are guiding our strategy.
Forbes: Thank you for that background. Can you get a little…