CEO of Visa discusses working with Coinbase in fireside chat

Alfred Kelly has expressed interest in how digital currencies could be integrated with the payment ecosystem. 

Visa has expressed interest in working with digital currencies.

Chairman and Chief Executive of Visa, Alfred Kelly, recently expressed his support for Bitcoin and Coinbase in the JP Morgan 48th Annual Virtual TMC Conference, held on May 14th.

Kelly revealed all in a fireside virtual chat with JP Morgan securities analyst Tien-Tsin Huang. He explained that the industry is dynamic, with several different components producing assets with different functionalities.

He said that it was important to make a distinction between cryptocurrencies and digital currencies, since the former is more similar to commodities, while the latter is backed by actual fiat currencies. The company’s support, he explained, is towards the case for digital currencies.

Kelly described digital currencies as “additives” to the payments ecosystem, as opposed to becoming “replacements or negatives”. The company is also looking at the value of digital currencies in emerging market areas, where there is a priority to move people away from cash dependency, and to start providing accessible banking solutions.

The CEO of Visa revealed that they had a partnership with Coinbase in the UK, where “their cryptocurrency can be converted over to a Visa credential and a fiat currency and used at any of the merchants where Visa is accepted.”

Visa has also been working on the technology to expand this emerging asset class. Last week, their patent for a new system, that would create and manage a variety of digital currencies, was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Kelly also briefly mentioned the Libra Project, which they have not ruled out as a key player in the transformation of global payments. While Visa was named as one of the founding members when the project was first announced last June 2019, they have since left the partnership.

“We elected to not join the association because we didn’t see under that structure how regulatory requirements were going to be able to be met, and we certainly have a very strong relationship with regulators around the world, and we didn’t want to do any harm to those relationships.”

However, Kelly said that the company does remain in contact with the Libra Project and that they are looking forward to its impact on the payment ecosystem.

This fireside chat coincided with the recent revelation that JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the US, has started providing banking services for Coinbase and Gemini.