Mastercard prepares to use crypto on its network

Mastercard executive vice president announces that select cryptocurrency options will be introduced this year

MasterCard to introduce Crypto support                                 

Mastercard has announced that it is actively preparing for the future of crypto on its network, with the introduction of digital currency options as soon as this year.

“We are preparing right now for the future of crypto and payments, announcing that this year Mastercard will start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on our network,” said Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president, digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships at Mastercard in an announcement.

“This is a big change that will require a lot of work,” he said. “We will be very thoughtful about which assets we support based on our principles for digital currencies, which focus on consumer protections and compliance.”

Mastercard said it had begun preparations because it had seen people using cards to buy crypto assets, especially during Bitcoin's recent surge in value. The card provider said it had also seen users increasingly take advantage of crypto cards to access these assets and convert them to traditional currencies for spending.

“Our philosophy on cryptocurrencies is straightforward: it’s about choice,” Dhamodharan said. “Mastercard isn’t here to recommend you start using cryptocurrencies. But we are here to enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value – traditional or crypto – however they want.”

Mastercard wants to create more possibilities for shoppers and merchants, allowing them to transact in an entirely new form of payment. It believes that this change may open merchants up to new customers who are already flocking to digital assets, and help sellers build loyalty with existing customers who want this additional option. Customers will be able to save, store and send money in new ways.

“We want to help these concepts flourish and reach their potential, while also developing and encouraging the necessary guardrails,” he said.

 Mastercard said that not all cryptocurrencies will be supported on its network: “While stablecoins are more regulated and reliable than in the recent past, many of the hundreds of digital assets in circulation still need to tighten their compliance measures, so they won’t meet our requirements. We expect consumers and the ecosystem as a whole will start to rally around the crypto assets that offer reliability and security. It’s those very same stablecoins that we expect to bring into our network.”

Last year Mastercard teamed up with Wirex and BitPay to create crypto cards that allow people to transact using their cryptocurrencies. Then this year Mastercard joined forces with LVL, an up-and-coming cryptocurrency exchange.

Added to this work, Mastercard is actively engaging with several major central banks around the world, as they review plans to launch new digital currencies. Last year the company created a test platform for these banks to use these currencies in a simulated environment.

“Using our deep experience in payments technologies, we look forward to continuing these partnerships with governments and helping them explore the best ways to develop these new currencies,” he said.

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