Business · February 3, 2021

Visa Expanding Digital Currency Partnering with First Boulevard

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (STL.News) Visa (NYSE:V) today announced a partnership with First Boulevard, a digitally native neobank focused on building generational wealth for the Black community.  First Boulevard will be first to pilot Visa’s new suite of crypto APIs, which will enable their customers to purchase, custody and trade digital assets held by Anchorage, a federally chartered digital asset bank.  The pilot will serve as a key first step in supporting API capabilities that help additional Visa clients access and integrate crypto features into their product offering, and is anticipated to launch later this year.

The development of Visa’s crypto APIs marks the next phase of Visa’s digital currency strategy—focused on expanding the company’s role as a network-of-networks.  As part of this initial test and learn phase, Visa will explore ways in which financial institutions lacking their own digital currency infrastructure can harness Visa’s platform for tapping into the growing world of crypto assets and blockchain networks.

“We set out to make Visa the bridge between digital currencies and our global network of 70 million merchants and today we are the leading network for crypto wallets with 35 crypto platforms choosing to issue with Visa,” said Jack Forestell, chief product officer, Visa.  “With this pilot program, we want to extend the value of Visa to our neobank and financial institution clients by providing an easy bridge to crypto assets and blockchain networks.”

Advancing Diversity in Products and Partnerships

As a brand that stands for global acceptance, Visa is committed to embedding diversity and inclusion into its partnership and go-to-market strategies.  By prioritizing partners like First Boulevard, Visa aims to level the playing field when it comes to access to new technologies.  In addition to our pilot with First Boulevard, Visa today also announced a series of partnerships emphasizing the company’s commitment to closing the financial gap in the Black community.

“The First Boulevard mission is to help Black America build wealth,” said Donald Hawkins, president and chief executive officer, First Boulevard.  “We are thrilled to partner with the leader in digital payments, Visa, and leverage their crypto APIs to provide another channel for the Black community to access crypto as a new asset class that can help build Black wealth.”

First Boulevard will also launch a First Boulevard Visa Debit card, which offers digital-first features, including early access to wages with Early Direct Deposit, a Cash Back for Buying Black program, and financial education and budgeting tools to improve spending habits.  First Boulevard plans to incorporate financial literacy education into their core platform with bite sized “playlists” that their consumers can listen to in order to learn key concepts about money and investing.  Visa will work together with them to develop educational resources and materials on this platform to help make new asset classes and technologies like crypto more accessible to underserved communities.

Crypto APIs Pilot Program

As part of the initial pilot program, Visa plans to enable First Boulevard to connect to infrastructure provided by Visa’s partner, Anchorage, a federally chartered digital asset bank, to allow their customers to buy and sell Bitcoin.

“Visa’s crypto APIs pilot program is a significant step forward both for the proliferation of crypto as an asset class, and for accessibility and inclusion in payments and financial services.  We are thrilled to be working alongside Visa and First Boulevard to build the infrastructure for a more secure and equitable financial future,” said Diogo Monica, president and co-founder, Anchorage.