Visa announced teaming up with First Boulevard, a neobank focused on the Black community, for the first pilot program of its new suite of crypto APIs.
The partnership will enable customers to purchase, hold, and trade digital assets, with crypto transactions facilitated by Anchorage, a federal chartered digital bank.
Institutions and Banks Will Get to Buy Crypto
As part of the pilot, First Boulevard will link to Anchorage to allow its customers to buy and sell bitcoin. The payment giant sees this test as an important first step in its efforts to help customers access and integrate cryptocurrency via an API to establish itself as a network of networks.
Last week, Visa CEO Alfred Kelly said the card system was preparing its payment network to process a wide variety of crypto assets; it had signed contracts with around 35 organizations in the crypto market, including BitPanda, and BlockFi.
On the other hand, Jack Forrestel said that they wanted to build a bridge between digital currencies and over 70 million merchants globally. Today they are the leading crypto wallet network with 35 crypto platforms that have chosen to issue Visa.
This pilot program aims to bring Visa’s value to unbanked customers and financial institutions by linking crypto assets and blockchain networks.
Visa As Crypto ‘Bridge’
Cuy Sheffield said that the Visa API is the latest to connect a consumer-centric crypto wallet and Visa’s global network of merchants. The idea is that we can add significant utility to these wallets and these assets by allowing them to be easily spent.
Visa’s pilot program follows a report earlier this year that the company has 35 crypto platforms that issue Visa, such as Coinbase.
Today, Sheffield said that as it moves towards using crypto, Visa would be watching its users interact with bitcoins as digital gold; it is acting as a new asset class in which crypto can serve as a gateway to expand their users’ financial literacy. Hawkins argues that cryptocurrency is becoming a table stake for new banks serving a diverse population.
Regarding the partnership with First Boulevard, Sheffield disputed the idea of simply offering people a new asset class. He continued to mention the need for education on the same to expand knowledge on what it is and how it works. In that case, their partnership will push to provide resources for crypto and financial literacy, which Visa will integrate onto the First Boulevard platform.
As Sheffield Webster explains about providing crypto access to underserved communities and working with First Boulevard, “It’s about how you can access new asset classes and teach people to save and invest.”