Global payments giant Visa is going even deeper into the world of cryptocurrencies to streamline cross-border transactions. According to their latest announcement, Visa is becoming one of the first major financial institutions to use the Solana network to conduct international settlement transactions. The move comes after the company committed to expanding its ability to make payments in the USDC stablecoin, created by Circle, on Solana's blockchain (SOL), which is known for its high speed and performance. The move will help increase the speed of cross-border payments and provide clients with a modern alternative when sending or receiving funds from Visa.
The dynamics of stablecoins are changing rapidly, and as the Bernstein Research Institute has pointed out, the market for stablecoins could grow to $2.8 trillion over the next five years. As part of this growing trend, fintech company PayPal recently launched its own stablecoin called PYUSD on the Ethereum blockchain.
In addition to including Solana in its ecosystem, Visa has launched pilot programs with Worldpay and Nuvei, which process debit and credit payments for global businesses. Clients of these companies now have the option to choose to settle in USDC instead of accepting fiat currencies. Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, pointed out that by leveraging global blockchain networks such as Solana and Ethereum, the company is helping to improve the speed of cross-border settlement and offering its clients a modern option to easily send or receive funds from Visa's treasury. The move marks another milestone for traditional financial institutions using blockchain technology.
El Salvador to introduce Bitcoin education in schools by 2024
In 2024, public school students in El Salvador will see an innovation in their educational curriculum. The country's Ministry of Education has teamed up with the non-profit and non-governmental organization Mi Primer Bitcoin (MPB), which translates to "My First Bitcoin," to incorporate Bitcoin education into the school curriculum. They will also work with the Bitcoin Beach initiative.
MPB's founder, John Dennehy, confirmed that the core educational material will be taken over by MPB, which will be the main source for the Bitcoin section. To this end, a pilot program is in the works, which launched on September 7 with the help of Bitcoin Beach. The aim is to train 150 teachers from 75 schools to have a "basic understanding" of Bitcoin. Dennehy noted that "as the first nation to adopt Bitcoin, El Salvador will be an example for the world. Quality education is our best chance to ensure that this example is successful."
Once trained, the teachers will return to their schools and teach according to the curriculum created by the Ministry of Education. "If the program is successful," Dennehy said, "it will be expanded to all schools in the country next year." Part of this ambitious project is a dream that was born two years ago with the creation of My First Bitcoin: to educate the entire nation. Now, it's a major step toward realizing it.
And it's not just about El Salvador. Although it is now the main focus, MPB's mission is to bring Bitcoin education to the entire world. Dennehy confirmed that initial discussions are already underway with two other governments in Latin America that are interested in introducing El Salvador-style education to local students. The MPB expects other nations to follow suit in public education about Bitcoin while "the world watches closely." In Cuba, this education program is already beginning to spread, as evidenced by Bitcoin Cuba's recent social media post about opening registration for the first edition of their version of the Mi Primer Bitcoin program.
Does the digital euro have a problem? The European Parliament says yes
The incoming digital euro may face significant technical and legal challenges, according to a new report presented in September by the Economic Governance and Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) Scrutiny Unit, part of the European Parliament's Secretariat General. The report is an interesting counterpoint to an optimistic speech by Fabio Panetta, member of the executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB), where he highlighted the positives of the digital euro. However, Parliament has already expressed its concerns in this regard on several occasions, most recently in a report in April, where the risks of the introduction of the digital euro were assessed as outweighing its benefits.
Some progress has been made since April, with the European Commission presenting new legislative proposals in June on the digital euro and the legal tender status of cash. In addition, in July 2021, the Governing Council of the ECB launched the first phase of the Digital Euro Project Review to address key issues related to the design and distribution of this single European digital currency. This phase is expected to end in October this year, opening the door to a decision on whether to proceed with the next phase of development and testing or to stop the project.
However, research has revealed that the planned European digital currency could run into complications before it even leaves the Union. One problem is the need for ratification of international agreements between the EU and third countries, which complicates the situation. We are also faced with unresolved legal and technical issues related to the use and storage of the digital euro in wallets. Erwin Voloder, Head of Policy at the European Blockchain Association, points out that this is "the biggest challenge ahead". The European Union is thus approaching a decisive moment in which it will have to overcome a number of obstacles in order to successfully integrate the digital euro into the existing payment system.