Visa Expands USDC Payment Capabilities through Integration with Solana Blockchain

Visa, the global payments giant, has taken a significant step in broadening its stablecoin payment capabilities by embracing USD Coin (USDC) settled on the Solana blockchain. This move represents a notable expansion of Visa’s stablecoin offerings.

In a recent announcement, Visa disclosed that it is actively conducting live and completed pilot programs with issuers and acquirers, facilitating the seamless transfer of millions of USDC tokens between partners across the Ethereum and Solana blockchains for fiat-based payments settlement.

The evolution of Visa’s engagement with USDC has seen a progression from initial pilots involving Crypto.com to more extensive integrations with merchant payment processors, namely Worldpay and Nuvei.

The integration of USDC, both on Ethereum and Solana, into Visa’s ecosystem is a significant development. It empowers USDC to leverage Visa’s treasury and settlement systems, effectively bridging the gap between traditional finance and the emerging Web3 landscape. Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto, emphasized that this integration with stablecoins like USDC, along with blockchains such as Ethereum and Solana, contributes to faster cross-border settlement processes.

Visa’s journey with USDC began in 2021 when it partnered with Crypto.com to explore stablecoin settlements on the issuance side. The initial pilot utilized Ethereum-based USDC for receiving payments from Crypto.com, particularly in facilitating cross-border transactions through its Australian card program.

Before this collaboration, cross-border purchases made on Crypto.com Visa cards necessitated lengthy currency conversion procedures and incurred wire transfer fees. With the adoption of USDC, the crypto exchange streamlined its settlement obligations for Australian Visa cards.

Moreover, Crypto.com leverages a Visa treasury-managed account with Circle, the issuer of USD Coin, to facilitate cross-border USDC transfers on the Ethereum blockchain. This approach has notably simplified international wire transfers, reducing their duration and complexity.

Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of Circle, emphasized the significance of this partnership, describing it as a fundamental blockchain innovation with the potential to reshape payments and commerce. Circle’s vision for USDC was to create a digital dollar that could operate at internet speed, enabling secure and reliable payments.

The integration of USDC into Visa’s ecosystem also paves the way for Visa to disburse funds to USDC acquirers, including Worldpay and Nuvei. This development is expected to expedite settlement times for merchants utilizing their services. Payment processors, in turn, have the capability to route USDC payments to the merchants they serve, connecting Visa’s traditional fiat ecosystem to stablecoins and the broader cryptocurrency space.

Jim Johnson, President of Worldpay Merchant Solutions, highlighted how Visa’s USDC settlement capability will offer merchants increased options for receiving funds and streamline treasury operations.

Nabil Manji, Worldpay’s Head of Crypto and Web3, noted that Visa’s introduction of the USDC settlement service represents the initial step in enabling Worldpay’s clients to access faster and more cost-effective consumer payment settlements. He hinted at potential future enhancements, such as 24/7/365 settlement availability and real-time or multiple daily settlements, all of which can accelerate cross-border commerce.

In previous reports, Visa had initiated explorations into a solution for off-chain gas fee settlements for Ethereum by employing a Paymaster smart contract. These smart contracts have the ability to execute payments for users and execute various transaction capabilities.

Visa’s strategic moves in integrating USDC and exploring innovative solutions like Paymaster contracts signal its commitment to staying at the forefront of the evolving digital payments landscape. These developments are poised to reshape cross-border payments and offer enhanced options to consumers and merchants alike.

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