Payments giant Mastercard has announced that it is preparing to allow a number of cryptocurrencies to move through its network directly. Customers, merchants, and businesses will no longer need to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat currencies to transfer through the Mastercard network.
Mastercard Prepares to Let Cryptocurrencies Move Through its Network
Mastercard announced Wednesday that it will start “bringing crypto onto its network.” In a blog post on the company’s official website, Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President of Digital Asset and Blockchain, explained that “digital assets are becoming a more important part of the payments world.” He noted that customers are using Mastercards to buy cryptocurrencies, especially during bitcoin’s bull runs, elaborating:
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.
“We will be very thoughtful about which assets we support based on our principles for digital currencies,” the executive emphasized, adding that the same standard applies to stablecoins. “We are here to enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value,” he opined.
Dhamodharan pointed out that Mastercard is involved in a number of crypto projects, having teamed up with Wirex and Bitpay last year to create crypto cards that allow people to transact using their cryptocurrencies. The company then joined forces with crypto exchange LVL this year. “These relationships — with many more planned in the pipeline — build on our many years of crypto collaborations,” he said.
Even though Mastercard is involved in a number of crypto projects, Dhamodharan said that “cryptocurrencies still don’t move through our network. Our crypto partners convert the digital assets on their end to traditional currencies, then transmit them through to the Mastercard network.” He continued:
Our change to supporting digital assets directly will allow many more merchants to accept crypto — an ability that’s currently limited by proprietary methods unique to each digital asset. This change will also cut out inefficiencies, letting both consumers and merchants avoid having to convert back and forth between crypto and traditional [fiat currencies] to make purchases.
Lastly, Dhamodharan said that his company is “actively engaging” with several major central banks worldwide as they explore central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). “Last year, we created a test platform for these banks to use these currencies in a simulated environment,” he noted, adding that Mastercard already has “one of the payments industry’s biggest blockchain patent portfolios to draw from to make these projects successful.”
Commenting on the Mastercard news, bitcoin bull Mike Novogratz tweeted: “The Mastercard news is huge. A few months ago it would have been all the crypto community would focus on for the ensuing month. Now we are getting so much good news it almost goes unnoticed. Let me repeat. It is huge news. Crypto adoption is here.”
Recently, Mad Money host Jim Cramer said that Mastercard, along with Paypal and Elon Musk’s Tesla, is driving bitcoin more into the mainstream. Tesla revealed Monday that it has put $1.5 billion into bitcoin.
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