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Visa Taps First Boulevard To Pilot Its New Suite Of Crypto APIs

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Payment processor Visa has tapped First Boulevard to be the first to pilot its new suite of crypto APIs, which will enable their targeted Black community to buy, custody and trade crypto assets such as Bitcoin, held by Anchorage, a federally chartered digital asset bank. The pilot is anticipated to launch later in 2021.

First Boulevard is a digitally native neobank focused on financial empowerment in the Black community. As part of the initial pilot program, Visa plans to enable First Boulevard to connect to infrastructure provided by Visa's partner, Anchorage, to allow their customers to buy and sell Bitcoin.

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. The pilot will serve as a key first step in supporting API capabilities that help additional Visa clients to access and integrate crypto features into their product offering.

During the initial pilot, Visa will explore ways in which financial institutions lacking their own digital currency infrastructure can use 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

Visa also announced a series of partnerships emphasizing the company's commitment to closing the financial gap in the Black community. Visa said its suite of crypto APIs will provide another channel for the Black community to access crypto as a new asset class that can help build Black wealth.

Further, First Boulevard will launch a First Boulevard Visa Debit card, which will offer 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.

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