Mastercard to Support Select Crypto Assets Directly on its Network in 2021

Credit card giant Mastercard said that it would soon start supporting crypto payments on its network later in the year.

Mastercard’s Merchants Soon to Accept Crypto

According to a blog post by Master card on Wednesday (Feb. 10, 2021), the company revealed that would support a select number of cryptocurrencies in 2021, adding that crypto was quickly becoming an important part of the payments sector.

An excerpt from the announcement reads:

“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, which focus on consumer protections and compliance.”

Before now, Mastercard’s only partnered with some cryptocurrency companies like Wirex and BitPay to issue crypto cards, which enabled the user to pay with cryptocurrencies. The “coins” were thereafter converted to fiat before it got to the merchant.

Winds Are Changing

The latest announcement, however, signals a shift in focus for the company, which would see merchants accepting cryptocurrency directly, thereby removing the hassle of back and forth conversion for merchants and consumers.

“We are here to enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value — traditional or crypto — however they want. It should be your choice, it’s your money.”

Meanwhile, Mastercard does not mention the cryptos it would support, stating that it would consider some key factors before integrating any crypto-asset into its network. They include the know your customer (KYC) requirement, consumer protection, and crypto-assets that customers are willing to spend, not invest. However, bitcoin might not fit into the payment narrative, as most people see the flagship crypto as more of an investment vehicle.

While it seemed to sift the crypto assets that could be integrated into its network, the company hinted that it was looking at integrating stablecoins. Furthermore, Mastercard said it was working with central banks who are developing their central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

Prior to Mastercard’s announcement, another credit card behemoth Visa, said that it could add crypto to its merchants’ network. Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, also said it could accept bitcoin as payment for its products.

Featured image courtesy of Capital

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