Visa: blockchain and cryptocurrency isn’t good technology for us

The boss of Visa isn’t jumping aboard cryptocurrency anytime soon…

Even those companies that have come out as less than friends to cryptocurrency have often found themselves advocates to some degree of blockchain technology. That the merits of a distributed ledger, not least in financial markets, clearly shine through.

Surprisingly, though, Visa isn’t one of those looking to utilise it for its core work. The CEO of the company, Alfred F Kelly, was giving a speech at the end of last week, and as part of that, he answered questions over both cryptocurrency and blockchain. And in both instances, he admitted that neither was particularly interesting Visa at the moment.

The core problem? Speed.

“It’s an interesting technology”, he was quoted as saying. “It isn’t really at its core, for us, a good technology”. With Visa looking to process some 65,000 transactions every second, the current volume capacities of blockchain are some way short, it seems, of what Visa would need.

Not that it’s against blockchain altogether. In the same address, Kelly did admit that there are business to business functions for blockchain that Visa was looking into.

It’s not actively looking into cryptocurrency though, although “we’re going to keep an eye on it”. Kelly argued that he reckons “cryptocurrencies are a commodity, not a payment vehicle, at least right now, and I think they’re a speculative commodity”.

Given Visa’s reliance on fintech, perhaps it’s understandable that it’d be happier with the current status quo. Not without innovation, though. The biggest payment evolution in his eyes is a growth of contactless payments, that he expects to increase further in the years ahead.

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