Visa Teases Ethereum Collaboration, Aims to ‘Actively Contribute’ to Crypto Development

Global payments giant Visa signaled its stronger and more sustained interest in crypto on Monday, posting an article outlining how the company could one day collaborate with the Ethereum network on automatic payments.

the paper, sparked by an internal company hackathon held earlier this year, details how Ethereum users could, with support from Visa, schedule automatic payments sent from self-custodial crypto wallets. Such a capability is not yet possible on the Ethereum mainnet, but would be enabled by a popular Ethereum proposal called “Account Abstraction”, which would allow Ethereum user accounts to function as smart contracts and provide encryption functions. pre-programmed execution.

While crypto automatic payments may not necessarily have a dramatic impact on the banking and payments landscape, it is yet another sign that Visa is considering becoming an active player in crypto, a sector it sees as potentially critical for the long-term future of payments. .

“We want the opportunity to actively contribute to the technical developments that are happening in the crypto ecosystem,” said Catherine Gu, Head of CBDC and Visa Protocols. Decrypt. “The best way to do that is to learn by doing, actually going deeper into Web3 frameworks and blockchain protocols, areas that I think will be very important for payments.”

Gu’s group, first organized to study the potential of digital currencies backed by global governments, is now actively studying what other blockchain technologies are poised to reshape the world of payments and how quickly their adoption could be achieved. artwork.

That day does not seem, according to Gu, to be particularly close.

“This technology is very nascent right now, but there could be something down the road,” Gu said. “A lot of research needs to be done on fundamental aspects important to payments, such as security and scalability.”

A durable and elusive goal for blockchain networks like Ethereum has long been scalability: the ability to maintain network security while enabling cheap and instant transactions at scale. Many planned updates to the Ethereum network aim to address this issue. Proto-danksharding, for example, is an early version of a system that could one day radically reduce the amount of data needed to be parsed securely to process massive amounts of Ethereum transactions. It should be launched later next year.

“From a payment perspective, most [blockchain networks] are not yet scalable enough to process very high-speed transactions securely and reliably,” Gu said.

Until networks like Ethereum can scale extensively, they are unlikely to be meaningfully integrated by large companies like Visa. But the payments company, which has been in regular communication with leading Ethereum developers, is optimistic that such technological horizons are within reach.

This optimism offers a marked change from the gloom of the current mainstream crypto sentiment, dominated over the past month by the continued demise of crypto exchange FTX and its disgraced founder, Sam Bankman Fried.

“It’s very important to understand what is the signal and what is the noise,” Gu said. “We are taking a much longer-term perspective on this technology. It can be really useful, and that’s why we’re here: to invest more, to do research.

In October, the company trademark applications indicating that he was considering a crypto wallet and a metaverse product. A month later, Visa disconnected a partnership with FTX which allowed users of the crypto exchange to obtain Visa-branded debit cards.

In the same month, rival payment company Mastercard teamed up with crypto-trading platform Paxos to start crypto trading for banks.

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