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It is not yet clear which currencies the payments giant will add to its network. By now, Mastercard bets on stablecoins.
Global payments leader Mastercard International Incorporated (NYSE: MA) is planning to allow merchants to receive crypto payments this year. As the company has explained, it is up to everyone which opinion to support, but “the fact remains that these digital assets are becoming a more important part of the payments world”.
In a blog post, Mastercard said:
“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. This is a big change that will require a lot of work.”
Lately, Mastercard has seen a surge in cases of using cards to buy crypto assets. Besides, more users are taking advantage of crypto cards to access these assets and convert them to traditional currencies for spending. To become a part of this trend, Mastercard has decided to support crypto payments. However, it is not yet clear which currencies the payments giant will add to its network. By now, the company bets on stablecoins.
“To be completely clear, not all of today’s cryptocurrencies will be supported on our 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.”
The company further said:
“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.”
Mastercard Testing the Crypto Payments Waters
Back in 2013, Mastercard first filed a patent for settling Bitcoin (BTC) payments. But in 2015, the company abandoned the effort. In 2019, it decided to expand its footprint in the crypto space and started hiring wallet developers and crypto veterans. Besides, Mastercard started working with cryptocurrency-native platforms Wirex and Uphold. Within their partnership, only payments are covered, not settlements, which means the coins are converted to fiat currency well before reaching the merchant.
In addition, last year, Mastercard also offered a principal membership to Wirex. The latter became the first crypto company to directly issue crypto payment cards to its customers. This brought additional benefits in the form of convenience, faster transactions, and reduced costs. Meanwhile, for Mastercard, the deal meant the expansion of its cryptocurrency program.
The company also holds 89 blockchain patents and is waiting for approval on an additional 285 around the world.