Visa Europe's Collab, the company’s digital innovation initiative, has begun searching for bitcoin startups within the digital payments scene with the hopes of creating “an Apple App Store” of Bitcoin startups.
Bitcoin companies qualified for its program called "a religion of a 100-day sprint proof of concept" will become a part of Visa’s proof of concept stage, where they will be given opportunities to test their platforms and technologies at Visa Europe.
IBTimes interviewed Steve Perry, chief digital officer and the founder and co-creator of Visa Europe Collab about Visa’s general focus in the cryptocurrency. Perry stated:
“We have just started to meet some startups in blockchain. We still haven't put any into proof of concept yet. They are under non-disclosure agreements."
During the interview, Perry spent most of his time explaining the “lack of control and regulation” behind the bitcoin blockchain and that Visa still needs to do a research behind the technological capabilities of the blockchain and its potential applications can be adopted by the credit card giant.
“What I still question, with respect to blockchain, is the whole concept of a new settlements system that seems to work adequately well today, that is regulated and controlled for the benefit of the ecosystem and society,” said Perry.
“Take something outside of that – who is going to regulate it, authenticate it? If we skip a heartbeat of settlement here – can you imagine us saying: 'We can't settle the Lloyds cards today'; 15 million cards don't work. That cannot lend itself to a blockchain, unregulated, uncontrolled, secretive, managed by a handful of people, process."
‘Like Apple for payments’
Visa Europe’s Collab is taking a different approach. The company is interested in funding and incubating a wide range of Bitcoin startups rather than betting on few startups that may disrupt the industry.
“I don't want to bet on five or so startups that will disrupt the industry,” said Perry. “That is because technology will leapfrog them, consumers will move because they are promiscuous and canny.” He added:
“What I would rather do is give you the image of an Apple App store – so we are like Apple for payments.”
A month ago at money conf in Belfast, Jonathan Vaux, executive director of innovation partnerships at Visa Europe mentioned that Visa Europe is looking into applications involving the blockchain technology.
Apart from the company’s digital innovation initiative, Visa Europe has formed a team specifically dedicated to searching for bitcoin startups and use cases.
“What can you do with this?” Vaux announced. “We know there's a peer-to-peer transaction network happening but we don't see it scaling unless there is trust in the system. Certainly we are looking at it in a lab environment and as quick way of routing it's exciting. We have a team in London looking at specific use cases."