Visa’s chief executive officer Al Kelly doesn’t think cryptocurrencies are a threat to its business and is ready to implement systems that support it if it becomes more mainstream.
In an interview with CNBC Thursday (October 26), Kelly said there has to be a market where cryptocurrency becomes “somewhat like a fiat currency in order for us to be comfortable,” Kelly said in an interview with “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer, noting that crypto isn’t a threat to its business either in the short or medium term. Fiat currencies are ones that are issued and supported by governments, such as the U.S. dollar. The executive noted in the interview that if digital tokens start becoming a payment instrument than Visa would get involved with it. “If it goes in that direction, we will move in that direction,” Kelly said. “We want to be in the middle, Jim, of every payment flow in the world, regardless of how it happens or what the currency is behind it. So if we have to go there, we will go there. But right now, it’s more of a commodity than a payment vehicle.”
The comments on the part of Kelly appear to be a softer stance on cryptocurrency than what Visa’s chief financial officer Vasant Prabhu was espousing back in March. In an interview with the Financial Times at the time, the CFO said of the bitcoin craze that cryptocurrency was the preferred payment method for every “crook and dirty politician” and speculators who have “no clue.” The executive said that he gets worried about how many ill-informed retail investors get into the cryptocurrency market because they don’t know what they are doing. “The people asking me are the ones who scare the hell out of me,” he said in the Financial Times interview. “You know, guys like the limo driver to the airport . . . They have no idea what they are doing.”