Visa Reaffirms Crypto Strategy, Mastercard Touts Blockchain

Visa says it intends to continue working on its crypto strategy in light of recent reports that say otherwise, while rival Mastercard has flagged intent to focus on a more neutral area: blockchain.

An earlier report by Reuters said both payments giants would be halting cryptocurrency activities following the collapse of high-profile companies in the industry.

Visa has since denied that’s the case. Cuy Sheffield, Visa vice president and head of crypto, tweeted to claim that the Reuters report is inaccurate. 

A Visa spokesperson told Blockworks that the company would continue to monitor the cryptocurrency industry and regulatory developments.

“Our priority is, and will always be, maintaining the integrity of the Visa payments system and protecting the interests of consumers, merchants, and our clients,” the spokesperson said.

They noted that the recent failures in the industry will not change its strategy — which is to serve as a bridge between traditional finance customers and the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

“At Visa, we don’t pick winners and losers. Our job is to support an array of ways to pay and to study new technologies that may impact the future of payments,” the spokesperson said. “To that end, we’re focused on growing our core competencies in Web3 infrastructure layers and evaluating the blockchain protocols driving crypto development.”

Mastercard has not outrightly denied the allegations made in the Reuters article but told Blockworks that it would continue looking into use cases for crypto’s underlying blockchain technology.

“Our efforts continue to be focused on the underlying blockchain technology and how that can be applied to help address current pain points and build more efficient systems for consumers and businesses,” a Mastercard spokesperson said. 

It’s unclear whether those plans include crypto, stablecoins or public (permissionless) blockchain networks. Blockworks has reached out for more information.

In any case, Mastercard’s strategy aligns with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recent posturing toward blockchain networks, which it believes to be “more transformative than the initial wave of cryptoassets.