Visa’s Crypto Comeback: WhiteBIT Partnership Points to Payment Integration

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • Visa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the European crypto exchange WhiteBIT to help it connect with banks.
  • The agreement is the first major crypto partnership forged by Visa since it put the breaks on expansion in the space earlier this year.
  • In another sign it is warming on crypto again, the firm is experimenting with card-based Ethereum gas fee payments.
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Visa entered its first partnership with a crypto firm in half a year. By signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the crypto exchange WhiteBIT, the payments giant is opening the door to a sector that it has left out in the cold for months.

As well as embracing partnerships, recent technology announcements indicate that crypto is finally back in favor at Visa.

Visa’s Crypto Vision Has Been on Ice for Six Months

Back in February, Visa and Mastercard put the brakes on plans to partner with crypto firms in the wake of the bankruptcies and market collapse that had rocked the industry in the preceding months. A Visa spokesperson commented:

“Recent high-profile failures in the crypto sector are an important reminder that we have a long way to go before crypto becomes a part of mainstream payments and financial services,”

Visa and Mastercard have played significant roles in blockchain innovation, particularly in TradFi and banking. Their absence is palpable in the sector.

WhiteBIT and Visa Partner to Push Mainstream Crypto Adoption

Perhaps the most important way that Visa can support crypto firms is through its connection to major banks. After all, the Visa network is the largest card network in the world. Visa currently processes around 242 billion transactions last year.

Card transactions market share by card scheme 2014-2022
Card Transactions (Source: Statista)

In a press release announcing the latest MoU, WhiteBIT stated its intention to leverage Visa’s extensive network of bank and FinTech partners. The release states that:

“The cooperation aims to support WhiteBIT in building sustainable relations with banks and fintech companies that are Visa partners and interested in crypto-related products implementation.”

Yevgen Lisnyak, Senior Director, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Fintech and Ventures, Visa CISSEE said the company sees “great potential in cryptocurrency-related products”.

He added that the new MoU would help WhiteBIT work together with banks to launch card programs and integrate cryptocurrencies into the mainstream financial sector.

Visa Explores Card-Based Gas Fee Payments 

In another indication that Visa is putting its weight behind the mainstreaming of cryptocurrency, the firm announced that it had tested a technique for enabling card-based Ethereum gas fee payments this week.

To do this, Visa used the ERC-4337 standard and a paymaster contract to execute Ethereum transactions without the user having to own ETH directly.

The company has successfully tested the idea on the Ethereum Goerli testnet. Furthermore, it is now exploring how the concept could be used to reduce friction for Ethereum users.

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James Morales
James is a London-based editor, writer and explorer of the cryptosphere who started his journalistic career writing about digital art before honing his craft as a financial technology reporter. From the latest innovation in digital assets to the evolution of Web3, he is perpetually fascinated by the technologies of decentralization.
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