Posted 3 weeks ago | Catoshi Nakamoto

MasterCard will allow its nearly one billion users to spend cryptocurrencies at more than 30 million merchants, starting with stablecoins, the payment giant announced.

The payment giant believes the move may open merchants up to new customers and build loyalty with existing customers who are already migrating to using digital assets for payments over traditional fiat.

“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”

While Mastercard expressed, it plans to start with supporting stablecoins due to their “reliability and security.” Mastercard declined to name any cryptocurrencies it will integrate.

However, the payment giant stated there are four criteria to assess prospective assets it may add: “robust consumer protections including consumer privacy and security, strict KYC compliance, adherence to local laws and regulations, and stability as a means of payment.”

MasterCard also noted it is “actively engaging with several major central banks around the world” to support central bank digital currency initiatives or CBDCs.

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.”

The firm noted that when it does integrate cryptocurrencies into its network, similar to Paypal, once a merchant accepts crypto, it would be converted to fiat value at the point of sale.

“In all of these cases, cryptocurrencies still don’t move through our network. Our crypto partners convert the digital assets on their end to traditional currencies, then transmit them through to the Mastercard network. 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. 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.”

Mastercard added a visible increasing demand for digital assets among its customers, noting that many users have been buying crypto assets with their MasterCards, especially during Bitcoin’s recent surge from this bull market. The company noted that this information was anonymously obtained and, in aggregate, expressing no individuals data was collected.

Bitcoin is currently trading at [FIAT: $47,723.79] UP +6.1% in the last 24 hours, according to Coingecko at the time of this report.