Mastercard is looking to enter the crypto market, with plans to allow cryptocurrency payments set for later in 2021. What are the Mastercard ambitions for cryptocurrency payments, and will they work?
Mastercard Seeks to Offer and Accept Cryptocurrency Payments in late 2021
Mastercard sees the growing importance of cryptocurrencies on the global economy. The second-largest payment network in the world, behind Visa, is laying the groundwork to begin accepting cryptocurrency directly on its payment network later this year.
As Mastercard states, “whatever your opinions on cryptocurrencies — from a dyed-in-wool fanatic to utter skeptic — the fact remains that these digital assets are becoming a more important part of the payments world.”
“A Big Change That Will Require a Lot of Work”
The shift towards cryptocurrency credit cards is not straightforward. Before cryptocurrencies can begin using the Mastercard payment network, the company must undertake various security and compliance developments. These security protocols include consumer protections, identity protections, compliance protocols, and strict adherence to local, state, and federal laws.
“This is a big change that will require a lot of work. We will be very thoughtful about which assets we support based on our principles for digital currencies, which focus on consumer protection and compliance,” says Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s VP of digital asset and blockchain.
All About Choice
“Our philosophy on cryptocurrencies is straightforward: It’s about choice,” Dhamodharan added. “Mastercard isn’t here to recommend you start using cryptocurrencies. But we are here to enable customers, merchants, and businesses to move digital value.”
Visa’s Fintech Fast Track Program
Mastercard’s crypto plans follow on the heels of Visa’s on-going pursuit of fintech and cryptocurrency partnerships. Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program seeks to accelerate the integration process of fintech companies into the traditional credit card space.
Visa first unveiled plans for a cryptocurrency debit card in April of 2020. Created by San Francisco startup, Fold, that project allows cardholders to earn up to 10% back on select purchases as Bitcoin. That card was followed by news of the BlockFi Card and Gemini Card. Both offer cash back rewards in the form of Bitcoin.
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