VISA Grants Principal Certification to Crypto Payment Firm Wirex Author: Jimmy Aki Last Updated: 23 December 2020 Payment processor VISA has been making significant partnerships with several crypto firms of late, strengthening its foothold in the industry. In its recent collaboration, the company has granted London-based crypto payment firm Wirex a place on its principal member’s list. Opportunities Available for Wirex A press release published earlier this week confirmed that Wirex, the London-based crypto payments firm, has become a principal member of VISA’s European network. Wirex received the certification after it completed VISA’s Fintech Fast track Programme. With the principal membership secured, Wirex is now free to embark on some of its lofty plans for 2021. With the principal license, Wirex is now free to issue accounts and directly acquire merchants. Wirex will also be able to issue VISA cards itself, apply for other international licenses, and offer a wide array of innovative products to customers. The company pointed out that the certification is a significant milestone, coming off what has been an incredible year. The certification makes Wirex the second crypto firm to gain VISA principal status. Earlier this year, major bitcoin exchange Coinbase achieved the same milestone, explaining that it would collaborate with the payment processor to issue its Coinbase Card. Other crypto firms will be looking to capitalize on the same benefit, effectively issuing credit and debit cards without going through third parties. VISA’s Crypto Moves Wirex’s certification is the latest in VISA’s partnerships throughout the crypto space. Earlier this month, the payment processor collaborated with blockchain company Circle to issue credit cards that facilitate payments using Circle’s stablecoin USDC. Circle is also set to graduate from VISA’s Fast Track program sometime next year. Once it does, VISA could issue a credit card that allows businesses to send and receive USDC payments directly from others. Down the road, the partnership could also enhance cross-border USDC transactions between VISA-friendly countries. Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto, remarked at the time: “We continue to think of Visa as a network of networks […] Blockchain networks and stable coins, like USDC are just additional networks. So we think that there’s a significant value that Visa can provide to our clients, enabling them to access them and enabling them to spend at our merchants.” VISA has also joined forces with cryptocurrency loan servicing firm BlockFi to launch a new credit card that rewards users with Bitcoin. The credit card will issue reward purchases in Bitcoin, as opposed to other cashback rewards like airline miles.