US financial giant Mastercard bets on metaverse startups

By Raffaele Redi

Mastercard launched a Start Path crypto scheme

Bitcoin cryptocurrency with MasterCard cards                                 
The company launched a Start Path Crypto scheme - Photo: Shutterstock

Mastercard is betting on non-fungible tokens (NFTs), stablecoins and bitcoins startups as the American financial giant launched Start Path Crypto scheme, a startup engagement programme dedicated to exploring and solving problems for single users and businesses around the world using blockchain technology.

“The programme will provide access to value-added services and innovative offerings as the new cohort is a key part of Mastercard's strategy in the digital assets space,” according to the company.

Through this programme, and across the entire Mastercard Developers portfolio, the company provides a lane for fintech companies of all sizes to build, launch and grow.

Five new participants

Mastercard announced five new startups joining the programme, key metaverse players such as Ava Labs, Envel, Kash, LVL and NiftyKey.

The new participants are metaverse key players, such as Ava Labs, which is going to help startups launch decentralised applications on the Avalanche platform.

Ava Labs joined alongside another NFT-focussed company, NiftyKey, a crypto rewards platform connected by Boson Protocol, to enable financial institutions to offer loyalty products and services to their customers using NFTs.

On the other hand, Envel, an artificial intelligence-powered mobile banking app, is seeking to integrate the USDC stablecoin and blockchain technology into its platform. Kash, a peer-to-peer platform, will cover stablecoins related issues. Finally, LVL, which is an all-in-one Bitcoin banking app, will advise on investments in the leading crypto.

Jess Turner, executive vice president of New Digital Infrastructure and Fintech at Mastercard said: “The past year has seen incredible momentum in the world of crypto assets, from the explosion of NFTs to the piloting of central bank digital currencies in countries across the world.

“As we look to what’s next, it’s all about finding new use cases and problems blockchain technology can solve for now and in the future. Whether it’s enhancing financial freedom or new value-added service using stablecoins, we believe our new cohorts of Start Path Crypto and digital assets companies combined with Mastercard’s expertise in the space will accelerate access to new ways to pay and prioritise choice for consumers and businesses,” he added.

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