• Staff adds, changes come after Visa has expanded crypto capabilities in past year
  • Visa’s crypto teams focused on partnering with exchanges, wallets, and platforms to help them issue Visa cards, helping banks integrate crypto features

Visa has announced new hires and promotions as it looks to leverage its position as one of the world’s largest financial services companies to help advance the adoption and use of bitcoin, stablecoins, non-fungible tokens, DeFi and public blockchain networks.

Cuy Sheffield, Visa’s head of crypto, announced the staff additions and changes in a string of Twitter posts Tuesday. Among them was Chike Ukaegbu, a former presidential candidate in Nigeria, who has joined the company as its head of crypto strategy for emerging markets. 

Ukaegbu began vying for the presidency in 2018, becoming the youngest candidate in Nigerian history. He also founded Startup52, a diversity-focused accelerator in New York City designed to identify and groom outstanding entrepreneurs in startup entrepreneurship and tech skill-set building.

“Chike is a passionate advocate for financial inclusion and has deep experience at the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship, and public policy,” Sheffield wrote on Twitter.

Also new to Visa is Catherine Carle, who will work on crypto initiatives focused on improving access and education for underserved communities and entrepreneurs.

Anuj Bathla, who has worked at Visa since 2012, will join Visa’s global crypto business development and solutions team led by AJ Shanley, Sheffield added. The unit is focused on partnering with crypto exchanges, wallets, and platforms to help them issue Visa cards and access Visa’s network of more than 70 million merchants.

Other promotions include Alex Chiang, who joins the team focused on how Visa can help grow the adoption of NFTs and help clients understand and leverage DeFi protocols; Daniel Mottice, who is now with the unit working on the firm’s USDC settlement capabilities and opportunities for stablecoins to improve cross-border payouts; and Raj Parekh, who now leads Visa’s service products to help banks integrate crypto features into their core products.

Chiang and Mottice both joined the company in 2016, according to their LinkedIn profiles, while Parekh began working at Visa in 2015.

The firm is also looking to hire a principal of Visa crypto and a senior manager of crypto solutions, according to job postings. 

Visa created an application programming interface, or API, in February that lets banks offer bitcoin services to their customers. 

The following month, the company announced that it had completed a transaction using USDC over the Ethereum blockchain and would soon be open to settlement with digital currencies. Visa said at the time that it would be working with digital assets bank Anchorage as a settlement partner and Crypto.com as a payment gateway.

  • Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering macro and crypto-native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Prior to joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for various local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. Contact Ben via email at [email protected]