Visa takes a major step toward embracing cryptocurrency

Visa is the first big payments network to use cryptocurrency for payment settlements.

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Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
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Visa is making strides to bridge the new world of digital currencies with the mainstream financial industry.

James Martin/CNET

Visa on Monday announced that it will now allow the use of cryptocurrency to settle transactions in its payment network. USD Coin -- a stablecoin backed by the US dollar -- will be used to settle transactions with Visa over the Ethereum blockchain, according to a release. 

Visa is piloting the program with Crypto.com and said it plans to offer USDC settlement to more partners later this year. 

"Crypto-native fintechs want partners who understand their business and the complexities of digital currency form factors," Jack Forestell, executive vice president at Visa, said in the release. "The announcement today marks a major milestone in our ability to address the needs of fintechs managing their business in a stablecoin or cryptocurrency, and it's really an extension of what we do every day, securely facilitating payments in all different currencies all across the world."

Visa's pilot program strips out the need to convert digital coin into a more traditional currency, such as US dollars, when a person pays for something using a Crypto.com Visa card. Instead, Visa will settle the transaction using USDC. 

Visa said incorporating digital currency will remove added cost and complexity, and allow for crypto-native partners to explore new business models without needing to keep around traditional fiat currencies.

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