Visa announces new crypto consulting service for merchants and banks

Visa, the world’s largest payments company, is offering new consultancy and advising services to assist its clients in navigating the world of cryptocurrency.

The company announced on Dec. 8 that its crypto advisory practice, which is part of its consulting and analytics division, will provide guidance to financial institutions, retailers, and other businesses on topics ranging from implementing crypto features to exploring nonfungible tokens to developing wallets for central bank digital currencies.

Part of banks’ interest in cryptocurrencies, according to Visa, stems from a need to remain competitive. According to Visa, “40 percent of crypto owners questioned believe they would be likely or very likely to switch their primary bank to one that offers crypto-related goods in the next 12 months,” citing recent in-house research.

UMB, an American financial services business, is a client of Visa’s crypto consulting services, according to Reuters.

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“We came to Visa to learn more about crypto and stable coins, as well as the use cases that are most important to our retail and commercial business lines,” UMB Bank executive vice president Uma Wilson said.

Visa’s newest attempt to get into the cryptocurrency business follows the filing of multiple blockchain-related patents by the company in the past. Visa’s research team is also working on a project called the “Universal Payment Channel,” which is a blockchain interoperability hub that connects many blockchain networks and allows digital assets to travel across different protocols and wallets.

Visa is one of the several payment processors that have recently joined the bitcoin market. Mastercard, its competitor, just released crypto-linked payment cards across the Asia-Pacific area, while PayPal, the online payment behemoth, unveiled a new consumer app for crypto, savings, and direct deposits earlier this year.