Visa is launching a new platform designed to expand the access its customers have to cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. There are currently 35 crypto platforms that are available to Visa users.
Visa announced a new partnership with First Boulevard, a digitally native neobank that focuses on building generational wealth for the Black community. First Boulevard will be the organization to pilot Visa’s new suite of crypto APIs, which will enable their customers to purchase, custody and trade digital assets.
The crypto pilot will serve as the next step in Visa’s plan to support API capabilities, enabling Visa customers to access and utilize crypto features as part of their financial planning.
Visa’s digital assets will be held by Anchorage, a federally chartered digital asset bank, headquartered in San Francisco.
“Visa’s new API will allow different private banks to connect to Anchorage’s capacity for bitcoin exchange, allowing bank customers all across the country to buy, custody and trade digital assets,” according to Nasdaq.
First Boulevard, a Kansas-based neobank, will launch Visa’s pilot program to allow customers to buy and sell Bitcoin.
By prioritizing the trial with this neobank, Visa aims to level the playing field in terms of who has access to new financial technologies. As part of its mission to embed diversity and inclusion into its partnerships and strategies, Visa has a vision to build wealth amongst the Black community.
Donald Hawkins, president and CEO of First Boulevard, says his company is excited to partner with Visa “and leverage their crypto APIs to provide another channel for the Black community to access crypto as a new asset class that can build Black wealth,” The Buttonwood Tree reported.
In conjunction with the pilot, the bank will launch a First Boulevard Visa Debit card, which offers digital-first features, including early access to wages with Early Direct Deposit and a Cash Back for Buying Black program.
First Boulevard will also include financial education and budgeting tools that can be utilized by its customers. First Boulevard plans to incorporate financial literacy education into their core platform. Visa will work with them to create educational materials and resources for this venture to make new technologies like crypto more accessible to underserved communities.
Hawkins toldCoindesk, “Our target market is Gen Z and millennial women… So cryptocurrency has been a hot topic in our company since the very beginning.”
Visa’s plan comes as an increasing number of crypto platforms are being marketed to consumers. Last year, Paypal, one of Visa’s biggest competitors, integrated cryptocurrency trading and transactions onto its platform last year. Furthermore, The Buttonwood Tree reports Venmo “will introduce a similar feature in the coming months.”