Visa recently announced a partnership with First Boulevard (a digitally native neobank focused on building generational wealth for the Black community) to enable customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies at banks. According to the announcement, First Boulevard will be the first to pilot Visa’s new suite of crypto APIs, which will enable their customers to purchase custody and trade digital assets held by Anchorage, a federally chartered digital asset bank. The first pilot will also serve as a step in determining API capabilities, which will help more Visa clients access and integrate crypto features into their product offering.
The development of the crypto APIs marks the next phase for Visa’s digital currency strategy—focused on expanding its role as a network-of-networks. And as part of this initial phase, Visa will explore ways to help financial institutions without their digital currency infrastructure utilize Visa’s platform and join the growing world of crypto assets and blockchain networks.
The President and CEO of First Boulevard, Donald Hawkins, is also optimistic about the partnership, citing the company’s plan to help Black Americans build wealth. He said:
“We are thrilled to partner with Visa, the giant in digital payments, and leverage their crypto APIs to provide another channel for the Black community to access crypto as a new asset class that can help build Black wealth.”
Visa is building diversity in products and partnerships
As a company that stands for global acceptance, Visa is committed to diversifying its partnerships and go-to-market strategies. Meanwhile, the deal with First Boulevard is just one of Visa’s primary partnerships aimed at closing the financial gap in Black communities.
So far, Visa’s new approach to digital assets has benefitted many crypto-based businesses. Crypto exchanges like Crypto.com and Binance have already launched their cards, while 33 more services use Visa’s support.
The Chief Product Officer of Visa, Jack Forestell, also added:
“We are set out to make Visa the bridge between digital currencies and our global network of 70 million merchants. And today, we are the leading network for crypto wallets and 35 crypto platforms choosing to issue with Visa. With this pilot program, we also want to extend the value of Visa to our neobank and financial institution clients by providing an easy bridge to crypto assets and blockchain networks.”
Apart from the pilot program, First Boulevard will launch its debit card
First Boulevard will also launch a First Boulevard Visa Debit card, which offers digital features, including financial education and budgeting tools to facilitate good spending habits. Reportedly, the company intends to promote financial literacy education by creating sizable playlists for both customers and individuals who want to explore digital assets. And by listening to these playlists, consumers will learn key concepts about money and investing.
The partnership with Visa will also help them develop educational resources and materials to enable underserved communities to access new asset classes and technologies like crypto.
Meanwhile, as part of the initial crypto pilot program, Visa plans to allow First Boulevard to connect to Anchorage’s infrastructure and help customers buy and sell Bitcoin. The President and co-founder of Anchorage, Diogo Monica, also expressed optimism about the partnership:
“Visa’s crypto APIs pilot program is a significant step forward for both the proliferation of crypto as an asset class and accessibility and inclusion in payments and financial services. So we are excited to work alongside Visa and First Boulevard to build the infrastructure for a more secure and equitable financial future.”
About Visa Inc
Visa Inc is the world’s leader in digital payments designed to enable individuals, businesses, and economies to thrive. Visa connects the world and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s resolve to focus on innovations is a catalyst for the sustained growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, anywhere. In all, Visa is reshaping the future of e-commerce through its reliable and secure payment network.