Visa Explores Automatic Payments Via Blockchain

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Visa Explores Automatic Payments Via Blockchain
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Researchers at Visa have been investigating how to enable automatic recurring payments for self-custodial crypto wallets.

In a new technical paper, the researchers investigate how to bring the commonplace automatic recurring payment option to the world of crypto and blockchain.

This, the paper says, “is not a trivial task on a blockchain like Ethereum”, adding: “For self-custodial wallets where the user has sole control over the wallet and private keys, automated programmable payments that can pull payments automatically from a user’s account at recurring intervals requires engineering work.”

Visa’s answer is a smart contract application that allows a user to set up a programmable payment instruction that can push funds automatically from one self-custodial wallet account to another at recurring intervals, without requiring the user’s active participation each time.

It relies on a concept known as “Account Abstraction” (AA) which makes user accounts on Ethereum function more like smart contracts by allowing a user to have programmable features embedded into their wallets.

In the paper, the Visa team demonstrates a potential application of AA: a new type of account contract that can delegate the ability to initiate a payment by a user account to a pre-approved autopayment smart contract, mimicking the process you use today to set up a recurring card payment.

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The paper is the first technical piece to come out a new initiative from the Visa Crypto team as it bids to broaden its core competencies in the Web3 infrastructure layers and blockchain protocols that are driving crypto development.

A team of researchers and engineers across Visa is working to study the foundations of various blockchains — including the security, scalability, interoperability and privacy of different protocols — and propose possible use cases.

Catherine Gu, head, CBDC and Protocols, Visa, says: “To help our clients and partners innovate, we need to immerse ourselves in technologies that can bring real value to the payments ecosystem.”