Cryptocurrencies have become an important part of the payments world that traditional financial companies are taking notice, and doing something about it.
Mastercard, a publicly-traded company originally known as Interbank, is “preparing right now for the future of crypto and payments.”
Mastercard to directly support crypto
The company announced that it will start supporting a select number of cryptocurrencies directly on its network this year. Mastercard says this will be a big change requiring a lot of work and will be guided by a focus on “consumer protection and compliance.”
The company partnered with Wirex and BitPay to issued crypto cards that allow users to transact using their cryptocurrencies. However, cryptocurrencies still don’t move directly through the company’s network.
Mastercard’s partners convert the digital asset into fiat, which is then transmitted through the company’s network. This is what Mastercard is looking to change.
The company wants to directly support cryptocurrencies without converting them to traditional currencies.
“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,” the company said.
The future of payments
The company has observed a pattern of people using their cards to buy crypto assets especially in recent times when bitcoin’s value is on the rise. People are also taking the advantage of the recent surge to convert digital assets into fiat currency.
Mastercard acknowledges that crypto will be part of the future of payments. This, however, hinges on the assumption that people are willing to spend their crypto.
However, some of the crypto holders believe in HODLing. Cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, have become investment vehicles. The company is not pushing for the use of cryptocurrencies. It is only giving consumers a choice.
“Mastercard isn’t here to recommend you start using cryptocurrencies. But 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.”
The payment company has 89 blockchain patents to its belt and an “additional 285 blockchain application pending worldwide.”
In August 2019, the company published a job listing in an effort to build a cryptocurrency team.