Global payments leader Mastercard (MA) is looking to make it easier for consumers to buy, spend and hold cryptocurrencies.
Mastercard is also seeking to become a key player in the developer ecosystem of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) with cryptocurrencies. Startups and founders who are focused on crypto and digital assets will now be able to join Mastercard’s Start Path program. The program gives fledgling companies access to the credit card network’s technology.
Mastercard seeks to take a leading position in crypto innovation
To make the transactional lives of crypto holders easier, Mastercard announced a Start Path global engagement program, which is designed to support fast-growing digital assets, blockchain and cryptocurrency companies.
“As a leading technology player, we believe we can play a key role in digital assets, helping to shape the industry and provide consumer protection and security,” said Jess Turner, Mastercard’s executive vice president of new digital infrastructure and fintech.
The Start Path program will allow crypto startups to access Mastercard’s latest tools and solutions to scale their innovations and cutting-edge technologies.
“These startups use the program to connect with our ecosystem of banks, merchants, partners, and digital players across the globe to deliver new solutions,” Mastercard explained.
Seven crypto-focused startups that have already joined the program will work with Mastercard on a strategy to make it easier and safer for institutions and the general public to buy, spend and hold cryptocurrencies. These startups include well-known digital assets platforms like Uphold and Domain Money. The program is all about accelerating and expanding innovation across the digital asset technology.
Furthermore, Mastercard recently announced a new pilot project that involves using a global financial technology firm Circle’s USDC stablecoin to facilitate crypto-to-fiat conversions in its payment facilities.
Circle Co-Founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire calls the integration of USDC stablecoin a bridge between fiat payments and cryptocurrency wallets.
“The engagement between Circle and Mastercard reinforces how [the] USDC is growing its role in payments and commerce on the internet while building a vital bridge between digital currency payment systems and large, established payment networks,” Allaire says.
What’s more, the leading payment service company struck a deal with London-based Wirex to directly issue cards on Mastercard’s network.
“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy,” Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president for digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships said in a statement.
Payment companies want a stake in the crypto economy
According to research by Mastercard, almost 93% of North American consumers are willing to use alternative payment methods such as cryptocurrencies or other emerging payment technologies in the next year. The research further revealed that 75% of millennials would use digital currencies if they understood them well.
Wider crypto adoption means new revenue growth opportunities for payment companies like Mastercard.
“This is partly a story about revenues and performance,” Stephen Biggar, director of financial institutions research at Argus Research said, pointing to Square’s whopping Bitcoin revenue growth this year.
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