Olliv the Above: Visa gears up for stablecoin payments with USDC, Solana

The crypto news we're obsessing over this week includes a plan from payments processor Visa to offer stablecoin payments settled over the Solana blockchain network, and a phishing attack that targeted influential Ehtereum founder Vitalik Buterin on social media. Also, the latest monthly inflation data dropped for the United States.

Visa announced a plan to allow for cross-border payments in USDC (a stablecoin) that would be settled on the Solana blockchain network. Solana is a software platform notable for its quick transaction speeds and its native token SOL formerly held a total market cap of $78 billion. The overall cap for SOL has fallen dramatically from its peak in late 2021, however, and the Visa partnership is a rare (and probably welcome) shot in the arm for the blockchain since its heyday during crypto’s last bull run.

There is also tremendous upside for stablecoins as evidenced by a payments company like Visa breaking into the space. PayPal, another massive multinational payments provider, is also jumping into the stablecoin arena with their very own PYUSD coin. The stablecoin market is projected to be worth almost $3 trillion by the end of the decade, according to a report by the investment management firm Bernstein.

Instead of sending cash, sending stablecoins (a digital asset whose value is pegged to an underlying asset ie US Dollars) to people on the other side of the transaction means that they can cash out that USDC for fiat currency or keep it in their crypto wallet. Recipients can also potentially swap their USDC for other digital assets or use it to buy things where crypto payments are accepted.

And this all happens rapidly, without the incumbent fees charged by traditional money wire services.

Learn more: What are stablecoins?

Vitalik Buterin is one of the most well-known faces in crypto. Buterin’s followers on X were probably not thrilled to learn that a purported NFT sale promoted from his X account was actually a sophisticated phishing scam. The phishing scam reportedly drained over $700,000 in crypto assets and NFTs from users’ wallets.

Buterin founded the Ethereum (ETH) network, and serious crypto investors watch his every move to parse what it could mean for the world’s second-most popular cryptocurrency. Investors will occasionally obsess over Buterin’s missives on social media platforms like X, hoping to read the tea leaves and get a jump on any developments that could impact the price of ETH.

Crypto wallet security remains a hot topic of discussion these days. And with a high-profile figure in crypto like Vitalik Buterin used to execute a phishing scam, it’s always a good time to refresh your wallet security and keep any digital assets you hold safe and sound!

Stay safe: Crypto wallet security tips

The U.S. inflation report for August 2023 pointed to rising costs driven by a spike in gas prices. When the cost of food and energy were stripped out of the report, the so-called “core” inflation number signaled a modest increase from July to August. Although policymakers (and basically everyone else) would prefer to have core inflation numbers flat or falling, this minor increase isn’t causing panic among economists.

Grocery prices dropped from July to August, a welcome reprieve from one of the most stubborn inflation trends that has been weighing on consumers’ pocketbooks for much of the past year. And as gasoline prices are a temporary contributor to higher inflation prices, many experts predict the U.S. Federal Reserve will leave its benchmark rate unchanged at 5.25% - 5.50% during their upcoming September meeting.

Catch up: Inflation & bitcoin prices

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