MasterCard is readying itself for direct processing of cryptocurrency payments sometime later this year.
MasterCard has in the past worked with Wirex, BitPay and LVL to facilitate crypto cards that allow people to transact using their cryptocurrencies. At the time, the cryptocurrencies themselves still didn’t move through the network, but instead got converted to fiat for onward realization.
MasterCard’s philosophy on cryptocurrencies is “about choice,” Dhamodharan said. “MasterCard isn’t here to recommend you start using cryptocurrencies. But we are here to enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value.”
"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," says Raj Dhamodharan, who leads MasterCard’s blockchain efforts. "This change will also cut out inefficiencies, letting both consumers and merchants avoid having to convert back and forth between crypto and traditional to make purchases."
"Doing this work will create a lot more possibilities for shoppers and merchants, allowing them to transact in an entirely new form of payment. This change may open merchants up to new customers who are already flocking to digital assets, and help sellers build loyalty with existing customers who want this additional option. And customers will be able to save, store and send money in new ways.”
MasterCard says the company will build requisite infrastructure for this upcoming offering using its portfolio and expertise of 89 blockchain patents granted, with a further 285 pending.
MasterCard said it will not support all cryptocurrencies on its network, as many of them need to tighten their compliance measures. "We will be very thoughtful about which assets we support based on our principles for digital currencies, which focus on consumer protections and compliance," the company said.
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