Visa will not directly accept bitcoin, according to company CEO Alfred Kelly in a recent CNBC interview during the National Retail Federation trade show in New York City.
“We at Visa won’t process transactions that are cryptocurrency-based,” he said. “We will only process fiat currency-based transactions.”
Kelly pointed to the problem posed by a currency like bitcoin with rapidly fluctuating value. “People want a fair exchange of value when they’re buying something, so if it costs $100, I want to pay $100,” he said.
If you are paying for something that is “bouncing around at the level bitcoin’s bouncing around, and think about ‘buy ahead’ kinds of transactions” – such as an airline ticket or a car – “If you’re using bitcoin, when is it valued?” he asked – when you buy it, when you use it?
Kelly said he currently views bitcoin as a speculative commodity as opposed to a method of payment.
A Commodity, Not A Payment System
“I don’t view it as payment system player,” he said.”My take is that bitcoin is much more today a commodity that somebody could invest in; and honestly, somewhat of a speculative commodity that people can invest in.”
Depending on when a person invested in bitcoin in the last three months of the currency’s intense volatility, someone could have earned a lot of money, he said.
One CNBC anchor pointed out that Visa does have a bitcoin payment card through BitPay.
Visa Terminates Bitcoin Credit Cards
However, Visa, recently terminated its partnership with Wave Crest, a Gibraltar-based digital payment processing company, effectively disabling bitcoin and cryptocurrency debit cards.
All of the bitcoin and cryptocurrency debit card service providers including TenX, Xapo, Coins.ph, Bitwala, BitPay and CryptoPay have been affected by the crackdown of Visa on Wave Crest. Cryptocurrency debit card service providers have been relying on Wave Crest and its Visa partnership to process cryptocurrency payments.
In 2016, BitPay introduced its bitcoin Visa debit card that enabled users to make payments at any Visa point-of-sale (POS) terminals and withdraw cash at Visa ATMs, anywhere across the United States.
The CNBC anchors said that Kelly’s input was one of the more direct answers they’ve gotten about bitcoin’s role in the mainstream economy.
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