Miami, Florida – June 13, 2022. As interest and consumer adoption of digital currencies continue to surge globally, Visa today announced that its crypto efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are substantially advancing with new local card-based partnerships and other crypto initiatives that are poised to unlock several opportunities for businesses, governments, and consumers to access the future of digital money.
“As more people and businesses continue to join the crypto innovation in the region, at Visa we are committed to being a key partner in providing the connectivity, scale, value propositions and security that are needed for crypto offerings to grow and be widely accepted, said Romina Seltzer, Senior Vice President – Products & Innovation for Visa Latin America & the Caribbean. “The crypto ecosystem continues to gain momentum in LAC with greater investments, increased consumer adoption and more crypto-enabled use cases, and we’ll continue to capitalize on our strong strategy to build the future of crypto and payments for our clients, partners and consumers alike.”
Visa’s goal is to add value to all forms of legitimate money movement, whether they originate on the Visa network, or beyond – this is key to our network-of-networks strategy, and our work in crypto is a great example of this. The company is focused on making Visa the simplest and most secure way to buy and/or use crypto through a Visa card. This includes recently launched crypto card programs and partnerships with fintechs and crypto exchange startups in the region, such as the Lemon Cash Visa prepaid card in Argentina and Satoshi Tango partnership, as well as the Crypto.com, Alterbank and Zro Bank cards in Brazil.
“Our mission at Crypto.com is cryptocurrency in every wallet, and we are making exceptional progress on that vision in Latin America as we accelerate our presence in this highly important market,” said Filomena Ruffa, General Manager, Latin America at Crypto.com. “Through our localized products and expanded card program with rich cash back benefits of up to 5%, we are actively providing Latin American consumers and merchants more ways to engage with and spend cryptocurrencies.”
Through crypto-linked credentials crypto exchange consumers can make purchases in local fiat anywhere Visa is accepted, purchase crypto assets with existing credentials, and receive cashback in Bitcoin or other digital currencies. “In the context of Latin America, cryptocurrencies are a concrete solution to improve the life of people. At Lemon, we want to contribute to the crypto revolution across the region, and for that we offer a 2% cashback in Bitcoin for all purchases made with Visa credentials,” said Borja Martel Seward, Co-Founder of Lemon.
With these and other issuing engagements being currently developed in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and other markets, Visa is supporting the crypto ecosystem in several ways. Beyond card-based services, Visa is providing infrastructure capabilities, consulting services and tools to better navigate digital currencies and the emerging NFT economy.
Growing Crypto at Scale
Visa has grown the scale and scope of its work in digital currencies significantly, having partnered with more than 70 of the leading crypto platforms globally. These partners have picked Visa to launch card programs, so that their customers can easily convert and spend digital currency at 80 million merchant locations worldwide.
In addition to embedding credentials into wallets and working with crypto platforms, Visa continues to innovate in this space through other initiatives at a global and regional scale that include:
- Supporting Stablecoin Settlement: Today, we transact in about 160 currencies and settle in 28 currencies and, anticipate we will be able to support fiat-backed stablecoins as additional settlement currencies on our network. We are working with partners and initially focused on USDC. We see this as another important milestone in our effort to bridge traditional and digital currencies.
- Consulting & Innovation services: Visa is also helping clients understand crypto trends, develop a crypto strategy that meets business needs and objectives, and research, design, and pilot new crypto user experiences and product innovations.
- Central Banks digital currency (CBDC): In addition, the company is engaging with Central Banks to identify compelling CBDC use cases and how to bring them to life with secure, convenient, and reliable technologies that can seamlessly integrate with the existing payments ecosystem. Just recently, Visa was chosen as one of the nine finalists in the Brazil CBDC LIFT challenge. For the next few months, Visa will be working closely with the Brazilian Central Bank on advice and guidance in this public-private partnership, where Visa researchers and engineers will be working together to design a functional prototype to deliver a Visa solution proposal for this challenge.
- New NFT Creator Program: This new initiative looks to help digital-first artists, musicians, fashion designers, and filmmakers accelerate their small business through NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. Each cycle of the one-year program will support a selected cohort of micro business owners looking to deepen their understanding of the technology and platforms underpinning NFT commerce.
Visa is also conducting research on the consumers’ perceptions and usage on crypto as digital currencies continue to gain mainstream adoption. In fact, Visa’s latest study, “The Crypto Phenomenon: Consumer Attitudes & Usage,” found near-universal awareness on crypto with one-third of respondents having used digital assets “either as an investment tool or as a medium of exchange”, and greater engagement being observed in emerging markets. The research also found that close to 40% of crypto owners globally would be likely to switch primary banks to one that offers crypto products. 
“As we aim to become the bridge that connects traditional businesses with the future of money, we are committed to being a leader in digital currency-based payments, also helping existing and new clients and financial institutions in the region capitalize on these significant opportunities to better navigate and benefit from these revolutionary changes happening in the payments industry,” added Seltzer.