Visa Expands Stablecoin Settlement Capabilities, Partners with Solana, Worldpay, and Nuvei

Visa, a leading global player in the payments industry, has unveiled its ambitious plans to modernize cross-border money transfers. In a significant stride towards this goal, Visa is extending its stablecoin settlement capabilities to the high-performance Solana blockchain, and collaborating with merchant acquirers Worldpay and Nuvei to revolutionize payment transactions.

The announcement comes on the heels of Visa’s successful live trials with issuers and acquirers, during which millions of USDC (USD Coin) were moved between partners via the Solana and Ethereum blockchain networks, facilitating the settlement of fiat-denominated payments authorized over VisaNet.

The Unseen Complexity of Payments

For consumers worldwide, using Visa cards to make purchases at countless merchant locations offers the convenience of almost instant payment authorization. However, beneath this seamless experience lies a complex process involving fund transfers between the issuing bank and the acquiring bank of the merchant. Visa’s treasury and settlement systems are at the heart of this process, ensuring the clearing, settlement, and transfer of funds across nearly 15,000 financial institutions and over 25 global currencies.

Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s Head of Crypto, emphasized the significance of this move, stating, “By leveraging stablecoins like USDC and global blockchain networks such as Solana and Ethereum, we’re enhancing the speed of cross-border settlement and offering a modern solution for clients to effortlessly move funds to and from Visa’s treasury. Visa is firmly committed to leading the way in digital currency and blockchain innovation, utilizing these cutting-edge technologies to redefine the way we handle money.”

A Journey of Collaboration and Innovation

Visa’s exploration of stablecoin settlement commenced in 2021 when it began experimenting with USDC within its treasury operations. This endeavor eventually led to a groundbreaking partnership with Crypto.com, making Visa one of the pioneering major payment networks to explore stablecoin settlement from the issuance side.

The collaboration bore fruit as Visa successfully employed USDC and the Ethereum blockchain to receive payments from Crypto.com for cross-border transactions on their live card program in Australia. This innovation eliminated the need for lengthy currency conversion processes and expensive international wire transfers, delivering a more efficient payment experience to consumers.

Jeremy Allaire, Co-founder and CEO of Circle, the entity behind USDC, lauded this development, noting that “Expanding the pilot exemplifies how pairing USDC with Visa’s innovation opens up the future of payments, commerce, and financial applications.”

Bridging the Gap: From Issuers to Acquirers

While Visa’s treasury operations continue to explore receiving funds on-chain from various issuer partners, the introduction of these novel settlement options enables Visa to transmit funds directly to acquirers, such as Worldpay and Nuvei. This initiative aims to significantly reduce settlement times for the merchants they serve, a pivotal step in enhancing payment efficiency.

Worldpay and Nuvei, both global acquirers catering to merchants across diverse sectors, including the blockchain and crypto economy, will now have the option to receive stablecoins instead of traditional fiat currencies for the card payments they process. Visa, through its Circle account, can efficiently manage settlement payouts in USDC to Worldpay and Nuvei, who can then seamlessly transfer these payments in USDC to their end merchants.

Solana Enters the Fold

Responding to growing demand for high-performance blockchain networks capable of swift and cost-effective stablecoin transfers, Visa has integrated support for Solana. Renowned for its exceptional speed and efficiency, Solana boasts a 400 millisecond block time, an average of 400 transactions per second, and the capacity to surge to over 2,000 transactions per second during peak demand.

This strategic move positions Visa as one of the first major payment companies to directly leverage Solana for live settlement payments between its clients. By harnessing Solana’s capabilities, Visa aims to further streamline the global payment landscape, offering even faster, more efficient services to its partners and customers.

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