Visa Teases Plans for an Interoperable Hub for Crypto Payments

Visa Teases Plans for an Interoperable Hub for Crypto Payments

by October 1, 2021

Visa announced that it is currently developing the “Universal Payment Channel” (UPC), a hub that connects multiple blockchain networks and allowing for secure transfer of digital currencies.

The payments giant calls it a a “universal adapter” among blockchains, allowing central banks, businesses, and consumers to seamlessly exchange value, no matter the form factor of the currency.

Visa has detailed the mechanics of UPC in its research paper “Universal Payment Channels: An Interoperability Platform for Digital Currencies”, as well as policy guidance for central banks and regulators on the implication of this research from the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute.

In a blog post on Thursday, Visa highlighted that while digital currencies may not be a part of one’s daily financial life today, it’s likely that they will play an important role in the future.

Over the past two years, central banks around the world have shown an increasing interest in exploring CBDC — a new, digital form of central bank money that can be used directly by consumers, merchants, and financial institutions.

Visa added that in order for CBDCs to be successful, they must have two essential ingredients: a great consumer experience and widespread merchant acceptance.

It means the ability to make and receive payments, regardless of currency, channel, or form factor which is where Visa’s UPC concept comes in.

Visa’s research team began developing a framework for interoperability that would work across different blockchain networks and be independent of the underlying blockchain mechanisms in 2018.

The company said that as it continues its applied research, Visa is working to translate its ideas into actual lines of code.

Visa has requested for comments and technical feedback to its UPC design here.

Catherine Gu, Global CBDC Product Lead at Visa

Catherine Gu

An expert from the blog post written by Catherine Gu, Global CBDC Product Lead at Visa,

“Imagine splitting the check with your friends, when everyone at the table is using a different type of money — some using a central bank digital currency (or CBDC) like Sweden’s eKrona, and others preferring a private stablecoin like USDC. How about sending $500 in USDC to a friend in London, and having those funds automatically converted to digital British pounds before they arrive in her CBDC wallet.


Now imagine all this happening in real-time, across multiple networks, and compatible with multiple digital wallets.  In the not-too-distant future, this very well may be a reality. But getting there will take solving one key problem: cross-chain interoperability. In other words, how do you get different digital currencies, relying on different tech stacks and protocols, with different compliance standards and market requirements, to “talk” to each other in a wider network of value?”