Mastercard to start supporting select cryptocurrency on its network
A week after Nigeria’s central bank placed a cryptocurrency exchange, US payment giant, Mastercard said it will join other major financial firms to support cryptocurrencies on its network this year.
This came after EV maker Tesla announced a $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin that sent the cryptocurrency’s value to record heights. This announcement by Mastercard is also likely to strengthen the value of the controversial digital currency.
According to Techspot, Mastercard said it is now preparing for “the future of crypto and payments,” announcing that it will start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on its network this year. The financial services corporation didn’t specify which digital assets it will embrace initially but did note that they will be “very thoughtful” about which assets they choose to adopt.
“Our philosophy on cryptocurrencies is straightforward: It’s about 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.”
Mastercard said it is looking for four key items when considering what crypto to add to its network. Privacy and security are paramount, as are strict compliance protocols, “including Know Your Customer, a requirement meant to snuff out illegal activity and deception in payment networks.” The digital assets must also adhere to local laws and regulations where they are used and finally, they will need to “offer the stability people need in a vehicle for spending, not investing.”
Recall that, late last year, PayPal started letting users buy, hold and sell the “big four” cryptocurrencies on its platform: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. One would think that Mastercard would also be interested in these currencies but only time will tell.
Mastercard said supporting crypto is a big change that requires a lot of work and thus, didn’t set a specific date for adoption outside of the general 2021 window.
Meanwhile, America’s oldest bank, Bank of New York Mellon on Thursday announced the formation of a new digital assets unit that’ll be led by Mike Demissie. The team “is currently developing a client-facing prototype that is designed to be the industry’s first multi-asset digital custody and administration platform for traditional and digital assets,” including cryptocurrencies.