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Visa Opens Cryptocurrency Advisory Service for Banks and Retailers

Visa says it started a crypto-advice service 'at a moment when digital currencies are taking greater hold in the popular consciousness.'
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Visa V is starting a digital currency advisory service, seeking to take advantage of the crypto market’s explosive growth.

The San Francisco payment-services titan's move “comes at a moment when digital currencies are taking greater hold in the popular consciousness,” the company said. 

The new service aims at banks and retailers.

A Visa survey indicates that almost 40% of cryptocurrency owners would probably switch their primary bank to one that makes crypto-related products available, MarketWatch reports.

“We’ve seen a material shift in our clients’ mindset in the last year, from a desire to explore and experiment with crypto, to actually building a strategy and product roadmap,” Claudio Di Nella, head of Visa's consulting and analytics in Europe, said in a statement.

Visa already has a bitcoin rewards credit card and enables customers to use USD Coin in payments.

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To be sure, Visa’s chief financial officer, Vasant Prabhu, says that cryptocurrencies' sharp volatility can inhibit people from using them. 

“If the price [of bitcoin] is going to fluctuate from $60,000 to $50,000 in a few hours, it’s a very difficult thing for a merchant to accept as a currency,” he told Reuters.

Bitcoin dropped from a Nov. 30 high of $59,042 to a Dec. 3 low of $42,875.

Visa stock recently traded at $207.55, little changed.

Morningstar analyst Brett Horn puts fair value for Visa at $217.

“Despite the ongoing evolution in the payments industry, we think a wide moat surrounds the business and that Visa’s position in the global electronic payment infrastructure is essentially unassailable,” he wrote on Oct. 29.