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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.

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.