Mastercard announced that it will improve its card program for cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges to make it easier for partners to convert cryptocurrency to traditional fiat currency.
Collaboration with Evolve Bank & Trust and Paxos Trust Company, the leading blockchain infrastructure and regulated platform for issuing stablecoin, and Circle, a global financial technology company and primary operator of USD Coin (USDC), a digital dollar currency or stablecoin, Mastercard and its partners will test this new ability to enable more banks and crypto companies to offer a card option to people who wish to spend their digital assets anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
When people today issue cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether or Litecoin, they have to enter the Mastercard network as traditional fiat currency such as the US dollar and settle there. Until now, crypto providers who wanted to start or expand card programs could find currency conversion, a critical step before processing in the Mastercard network, operationally difficult. Mastercard’s collaboration with Evolve, Paxos and Circle solves this challenge for players across the industry.
Mastercard announced in February 2021 that it was preparing to activate selected stablecoins directly on its network to expand the future potential of digital assets and payments. Today’s news enhancing the cryptocurrency exchange experience is a critical step in expanding the ecosystem and creating the conditions for the future of crypto payments in a safe, secure, and lawful manner.
Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President of Digital Asset and Blockchain Products & Partnerships at Mastercard, commented, “Today, not all crypto companies have the basic infrastructure to convert cryptocurrency to traditional fiat currency, and we are making it easier. Through our involvement with Evolve, Paxos, Circle and the wider digital asset community, Mastercard expects to deliver on our promise to give consumers choice, options for people around the world on how and when to pay. “
The expansion of Mastercard’s existing Crypto Card program includes a number of partners. Mastercard is in talks with Evolve Bank & Trust and Metropolitan Commercial Bank to issue cards, Uphold and BitPay to provide real-time crypto wallet technology, and i2c Inc., Apto Payments and Galileo Financial Technologies to provide processing and program management to support.
With this expansion of Mastercard’s Crypto Card program, Paxos and Circle will use their platforms to facilitate the conversion of crypto to fiat through fiat-backed stablecoins, a class of cryptocurrency that offers price stability and is backed by currency reserves. Simplifying the process will allow more banks and crypto partners to offer their consumers the option to pay with cryptocurrency.
“As pioneers in the issuance of crypto-enabled debit cards, we are absolutely thrilled at the level of investment by Mastercard and all of its affiliated partners in innovative products,” said Meg Nakamura, CEO of Apto Payments.
“BitPay believes that the future of payments lies in the blockchain because it changes the way consumers worldwide send, receive and store money,” said Stephen Pair, BitPay Co-Founder and CEO. “Working with Mastercard’s pilot to convert digital assets into dollars for everyday spending will accelerate consumers’ use of crypto as a means of trading.”
Dante Disparte, Circle’s Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Policy, commented: “The collaboration between Circle and Mastercard shows that digital dollar currencies like USDC can play a fundamental role in making payments more efficient and enabling new economic activity for companies around the world. “
“We are excited to be working with Mastercard and other leading companies to evolve the payments landscape,” said Scot Lenoir, chairman of Evolve. “Evolve is a well-known leader supporting all forms of stored value and money movements for our diverse fintech clients. In order to support the enormous acceptance of digital currencies by consumers and companies in recent years, we see processing via USDC and other stablecoins as our next step on our way to further modernize banking for everyone. “