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Visa’s Scharf Says Payments Networks Trump Bitcoin

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Visa Inc. Chief Executive Officer Charlie Scharf said he’s more confident in traditional payment networks than in virtual currencies like Bitcoin.

“There are certainly some interesting things about Bitcoin and other things like it, but there are also a great deal of complexities,” Scharf said today on a conference call to discuss quarterly results.

Payments networks such as Foster City, California-based Visa are safer for consumers because of “the established network rules we have, the understanding of how things operate, understanding who the participants are, the fact that the business that we do has financial institutions on either side of the transaction.”

While Visa will continue to pay attention to developments surrounding Bitcoin, “we feel very comfortable with the business that we have here,” Scharf said.

Visa is the biggest bank-card network. Scharf is a former senior executive at JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Dexheimer in New York at edexheimer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at peichenbaum@bloomberg.net

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