Visa Inc. is seeking a full-time technical product manager in Palo Alto, California. In a job posting to SmartRecruiters, the global card giant said it is looking for someone who is “passionate about the intersection of payments and cryptocurrency,” and “deeply familiar with permissionless blockchain technology.”
With the additional job requirement of “a close network of experts in the fast moving cryptocurrency and fintech ecosystem,” it looks like the ancient 20th Century fintech company is serious about poaching a top blockchain pro from the crypto industry.
Many in the crypto atmosphere are hailing the apparent entry of Visa to the industry as a portent of mass adoption. We are still unlikely to see mass adoption of a payment system that has the features and benefits of the most popular cryptocurrencies under the auspices of Visa.
Instead, we are likely to see something like JPM Coin, Jamie Dimon’s attempt to get JP Morgan into cryptocurrency. It would be a stablecoin that represents a U.S. dollar in the company’s internal accounting software on its centrally controlled, walled-off private databases.
It’s as if they renamed the entity in the programming language for their books software from custAcct.CredLessDeb to JPM.Coin and JP Morgan’s press office breathlessly dashed off a press release that the Wall Street giant was the first bank to release its own cryptocurrency.
The job post lays out Visa’s strategic vision under a brief company description:
“Common Purpose, Uncommon Opportunity. Everyone at Visa works with one goal in mind – making sure that Visa is the best way to pay and be paid, for everyone everywhere.”
The only way this could work is if Visa stamped its name and brand on something new. It must be built entirely from scratch, have some real tech and market awareness, is realistic about what’s going on, and can offer some real competitive value propositions.
Visa is hampered by its deep entanglement with the pre-internet financial regulatory regime and its rules that make it illegal for Visa to design a financial platform with the fundamental values that are built into bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Visa and the other institutional finance companies it operates through are legally prohibited from offering their customers with the value propositions that made bitcoin one of the most profitable investments. They are required to survey their users and report to various government authorities. They are required to identify you, hold your private information on file and tie every transaction you make to you individually.
They are required to wield the control they retain over your ability to make payments to hold you hostage to their rules, and levy sanctions against whomever the powerful and well-established have decided to criminalize.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.com.