Visa (V) Expands Blockchain Payment Capabilities by Expanding Circle’s USDC Settlements to Solana (SOL)

Visa (V) is diving deeper into crypto to boost the speed of cross-border payment transactions.

The San Francisco-based firm has expanded its stablecoin settlement capabilities with Circle’s USDC stablecoin to the Solana (SOL) blockchain, designed to offer high-speed performance, Visa said in a statement Tuesday.

Visa said it’s one of the first major financial institutions to use the Solana network at scale for settlements.

SOL is up nearly 2% on the news, while bitcoin (BTC) and the broad-market CoinDesk Market Index (CMI) have slid lower.

Visa also has started pilot programs with merchant acquirers Worldpay and Nuvei, which process debit and credit card payments for businesses globally, according to the statement. Their clients now may choose USDC stablecoin settlement instead of receiving fiat currencies.

The payments company first started testing USDC for treasury operations in 2021. The company ran a pilot program with crypto exchange, using the Ethereum blockchain for settling cross-border payments made with Visa cards.

“By leveraging stablecoins like USDC and global blockchain networks like Solana and Ethereum, we’re helping to improve the speed of cross-border settlement and providing a modern option for our clients to easily send or receive funds from Visa’s treasury,” Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, said in a statement.

The development is another milestone for traditional financial institutions leveraging blockchain technology. The stablecoin market can potentially grow to $2.8 trillion in the next five years as global financial and consumer platforms tap the tokens on public blockchains to power value exchange on their platforms, research firm Bernstein has said.

Stablecoins are a subset of cryptocurrencies with prices pegged to an external asset, predominantly to the U.S. dollar, and increasingly used for remittances and savings vehicles in developing regions.