MasterCard, one of the key players in traditional payments, will start supporting cryptocurrencies in 2021.
Making the announcement on its website, the company said that this decision is based on data collected that shows what is happening across the global MasterCard network.
Part of the statement reads:
“Whatever your opinions on cryptocurrencies — from a dyed-in-wool fanatic to utter skeptic — the fact remains that these digital assets are becoming a more important part of the payments world.
We are seeing this fact play out on the Mastercard network, with people using cards to buy crypto assets, especially during Bitcoin’s recent surge in value. We are also seeing users increasingly take advantage of crypto cards to access these assets and convert them to traditional currencies for spending.
To be clear, this data is not of any individuals – it’s anonymized and in aggregate – but the trend is unmistakable.”
While the company has clearly stated that it is not here to recommend that users start using cryptocurrencies, it is however here to enable customers, merchants, and businesses make the choice to move digital value – traditional or crypto – however they want.
Some of the benefits the company has stated that come with accepting this entirely new form of payment include:
- Open merchants to new customers flocking to digital assets
- Help sellers build loyalty with existing customers looking for options
- Enable customers to save, store, and send money in new ways
MasterCard however has said that it will not support all of the cryptocurrencies on its network, pointing to stablecoins as being ‘more regulated and reliable than in the recent past’ in comparison to other digital assets that still require more tighter compliance measures.
The company has listed 4 key items it is looking for in acceptable digital assets onto its network:
- Consumer protections – privacy and security of consumers’ information
- Strict compliance protocols – This includes KYC to snuff out illegal activities
- Assets much follow local laws and regulations in the regions they are used
- The assets will need to offer stability as a vehicle for spending and for payments
While MasterCard is clearly eyeing stablecoins for use across its network, the company said it is ‘actively engaging with several major central banks around the world as it reviews plans to launch central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in order to offer their citizens a new way to pay.’
This move by MasterCard comes just days after Visa, another leading global payments rail, said it will be supporting digital currencies.
The satement read:
“To the extent a specific digital currency becomes a recognized means of exchange, there’s no reason why we cannot add it to our network, which already supports over 160 currencies today,”
– CEO, Visa
Looks like both of these companies are heading in the same direction in 2021 when it comes to digital assets adoption.
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