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Breakpoint 2023: The Future of Finance and Blockchains with Visa

Experts from Visa and Worldpay discuss the advancement of finance using blockchains.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


During a panel discussion at Breakpoint 2023, leaders from Visa and Worldpay shared insights into the future of finance and the role of blockchain technology in transforming payment processes. The conversation unpacked several complex topics, making them accessible to a broad audience, and emphasized the significance of blockchain in enhancing efficiency, security, and the overall consumer experience within the financial ecosystem. The collaboration for USDC settlement on Solana was highlighted as a pioneering effort in this space.

Key Points:

Visa's Experimentation with Blockchain

Visa has been working on blockchain projects since 2018, exploring how they fit into the future of money and money movement. Their team, focused on both product solutions and architecture, is researching and creating innovative payment solutions that leverage blockchain technology. Visa adopts a chain-agnostic approach and strongly believes in a multi-chain future, signifying the expectation that various blockchain networks will be used concurrently to meet diverse transaction needs.

Worldpay's Role in the Payment Ecosystem

Worldpay, relatively lesser-known compared to Visa, plays an equally crucial role in processing consumer payments for merchants of varying sizes. It serves as an intermediary between these merchants and the card networks like Visa, facilitating the acceptance of different forms of payments such as debit cards, credit cards, e-wallets, and QR-based payments. As the largest payment processor globally, Worldpay is instrumental in managing a significant volume of transactions.

The Future of Finance and Emerging Use Cases

Both panelists from Visa and Worldpay expressed optimism about the potential of blockchain, even amidst the ongoing "crypto winter." There is continued interest from institutions in blockchain for enhancing payment infrastructure, suggesting a resilient confidence in the technology. Discussions touched on topics like the tokenization of bank deposits, stablecoin settlement, asset tokenization, and cross-border payments. The programmability of money, particularly with stablecoins and potential central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), was highlighted as a transformative factor in the future of finance.

The Role of Standards and Interoperability

A key takeaway from the discussion was the critical role that standards play in the adoption of blockchain technology by large, regulated financial institutions. Standards provide a common language and set of rules that enable different systems to interact seamlessly, and Visa has been a proponent of creating and adopting such standards. Establishing these common protocols is pivotal in fostering a secure and efficient multi-chain ecosystem that large players can confidently operate within.

Facts + Figures

  • Visa's Crypto team was founded around 2018 with a focus on the future of money movement.
  • Worldpay is projected to process $2.6 trillion across various payment methods in the current year.
  • Both Visa and Worldpay have been involved in blockchain since before the recent heightened interest, Visa since 2015, demonstrating their long-term commitment to the technology.
  • The four-party model of payment, consisting of the issuing bank, the card network, the payment processor, and the merchant, has moved trillions of dollars efficiently for decades, but it is ripe for improvements through blockchain.
  • The conversation referenced Pilot programs like Project Guardian that explore commercial use of blockchain in financial systems.
  • Visa and Worldpay recently announced USDC settlement expansion on the Solana blockchain, a significant milestone showcasing the collaboration between traditional finance and blockchain ecosystems.
  • Both companies stress the importance of incremental change and adhering to regulations while innovating in the space of blockchain payments.

Top quotes

  • "Visa Crypto was founded back around 2018... focusing on the future of money and money movement."
  • "WorldPay is the largest payment processor in the world."
  • "We believe in a multi-chain world."
  • "Payments is always about standards."
  • "The programmability of money... is one of, if not the most, exciting things that DLT is going to enable for financial services."
  • "We'd rather innovate together with the space in general."
  • "There's definitely been challenges over the past year, year and a half."
  • "You might be saying, wow, it [money] moves so much. And it does, but there's a reason for that."
  • "So world pay, as one party in that four-corner payment model, where could we influence, you know, how quickly money moves or how efficiently money moves?"

Questions Answered

What is Visa's stance on blockchain technology?

Visa regards blockchain as a crucial part of the future of money movement, investing resources into creating innovative solutions that integrate blockchain technology with their existing payment services. They envision a world where multiple blockchain networks operate alongside each other, providing different transaction solutions.

What role does Worldpay play in the financial ecosystem?

Worldpay functions as a payment processor, facilitating transactions between merchants and card networks. It serves as the intermediary that allows merchants to accept various forms of payment, from card transactions to digital wallets, making it a vital player in ensuring consumer payments are processed globally.

Why is the concept of programmable money so promising?

The programmability of money, enabled by blockchain technology, opens up a plethora of possibilities for making transactions more efficient and tailored to specific use cases. Programmable money can be designed to meet the detailed requirements of each transaction, such as limiting the usage of funds dispensed as government stimulus to certain merchant categories or improving the speed of transactions in high-working capital turnover companies.

How do Visa and Worldpay view their roles in setting standards in the blockchain space?

Visa and Worldpay see themselves as integral to establishing standards that would ease blockchain's integration into existing financial systems. They emphasize the need to partner with developers and industry leaders to create protocols that embed security and regulatory compliance into blockchain technologies for widespread institutional use.

What should developers building fintech startups on Web3 consider?

Developers should consider focusing on incremental improvements that can integrate smoothly into existing infrastructures. They should pay attention to solving enduring pain points in the financial system, ensuring that their solutions are compatible with the regulatory and security requirements of enterprises.