Visa is working on a hub for CBDC to interact with different blockchains. The Universal Payment Channel (UPC) it is creating will let customers instantly send digital currencies between networks.
The ambitious new project is described by the team of the international payment giant as a “network for blockchains”. The idea is to create a “universal adapter” for cryptocurrency networks, allowing dozens or even hundreds of different tokens and CBDCs to be connected.
As an example, Visa representatives cited the situation with dividing the amount for lunch at a restaurant with friends, when one of them uses the Swedish eKrona, while others prefer stablecoins for example, USDT or USDC. The UPC project will bring them all under one “roof”.
Work on the UPC concept started within the company back in 2018, when it began to think over a detailed structure of interaction between blockchains that works independently of the lateral mechanisms used by a particular network.
Visa's head of products, Catherine Gu, compared the UPC idea with existing Layer 2 technology projects that process transactions at a layer separate from the blockchain, and then use the latter to finalize the transaction. This not only significantly increases the speed of performing financial transactions on the network, but also protects the blockchain from third parties.
However, Gu also clarified that unlike solutions such as the Lightning Network, which focuses only on exchanging one currency for another, Visa intends to do the approach more universal. This became possible thanks to the hashed temporary blocking contract, which has already gained some fame in the world of digital currencies.
Visa faces a difficult task it needs to convince the authorities and private companies of the rationality of allocating resources to create crypto wallets compatible with their UPC. The team suggests that an obstacle to the development of UPC may be the refusal of some states or businesses to cooperate in the interests of retaining the client base exclusively in their own blockchain. Although the head of Visa for digital currencies, Cuy Sheffield, said that hardly anyone would make such a decision since he would simply “cut off” himself and his users from the wider global network.
According to Gu, today the company's specialists are engaged in applied research in order to implement it in code since the concept itself is already ready. In addition to this, Visa has attached a link to Etherscan, which hosts a sample smart contract.
The influence of stablecoins is growing by leaps and bounds. Today CBDCs are attracting the attention of an increasing number of global financial regulators, and the US Federal Reserve and the Biden administration will present their reports on the purpose of stablecoins in the economy this week. Some worry that the popularization of “government tokens” could push bitcoin and other coins out of the market. But most likely they will simply intersect in a global network such as Visa's UPC.
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