MasterCard has announced plans to support cryptocurrencies in 2021, paving the way for the nearly 1 billion users who can use digital assets with more than 30 million merchants.
The company believes this can open up new customers for sales representatives and build loyalty with existing customers who are already migrating to digital assets rather than traditional alternatives.
“It is a matter of choice. MasterCard is not intended to recommend that you start using cryptocurrencies. But we are here to enable customers, vendors and companies to market the digital value.”
While the global payment giant has indicated that it plans to support the stable coins due to their “reliability and security,” Mastercard has refused to name specific cryptocurrencies it will incorporate.
However, Mastercard has proposed four main criteria for evaluating promising assets: robust consumer protection, including consumer privacy and security, strict compliance with KYC, compliance with local laws and regulations, and stability as a method of payment.
MasterCard also indicated that it is “actively cooperating with several major central banks around the world” to support the central bank’s digital currency, or CBDC, initiatives.
The company released a default sandbox tool last year to demonstrate how CBDC is used to settle consumer purchases using MasterCard infrastructure.
The MasterCard statement also reported an increase in demand for digital assets among customers, indicating that many users are purchasing crypto assets with their MasterCard cards in today’s bull market.
Mastercard concluded, “Digital assets are becoming an increasingly important part of the payment world.”
“We are here to enable customers, vendors, and companies to market digital value – traditional or cryptocurrency – however they want. This should be your choice, this is your money.”
MasterCard has already devoted significant resources to research into distributed ledger technology: it currently holds 89 blockchain patents and 285 other pending applications.
The payment provider has been working on cryptocurrency payments for some time now, and works with Wirex and BitPay to create cryptocurrencies, though no cryptocurrency has moved through the MasterCard network.
The MasterCard announcement is the latest in a series of institutional cryptocurrency offerings in recent weeks. This week, Tesla announced a $ 1.5 billion Bitcoin purchase in cash reserves, adding that it would soon accept Bitcoin payments for its cars.
PayPal doubled the number of cryptocurrencies last week and announced that it would offer cryptocurrencies to its 26 million merchants after limited cryptocurrency services exceeded expectations.
One week ago, Visa Chairman and CEO Al Kelly reiterated his commitment to cryptocurrency payments and quitting smoking during the first-quarter earnings report.
Speculation has also started to surface about other tech companies entering the rabbit hole, with financial services firm RBC Capital Markets saying Apple should follow in Tesla’s footsteps. RBC analyst Mitch Steves wrote to clients that adopting cryptocurrency exchanges in the Apple Wallet will create a significant new market for growth.