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MasterCard announced the addition of cryptocurrencies to its platform in 2021. The announcement comes amid sustained growth in the use of cryptocurrencies that is pushing bitcoin closer to $50,000.
The firm is also “actively engaging” with central banks around the world in its plans to launch new digital currencies, according to a MasterCard blog post on Wednesday picked up by El Economista.
MasterCard has reportedly already partnered with some of the largest cryptocurrency firms, including Wirex and BitPay.
“Our shift toward backing digital assets directly will allow many more merchants to accept cryptocurrencies, a capability that is currently limited by proprietary methods unique to each digital asset,” said Raj Dhamodharan, executive Vice President of digital assets and blockchain products and partnerships.
He added that “this change will also eliminate inefficiencies, allowing both consumers and merchants to avoid having to switch between digital and traditional currencies to make purchases.”
MasterCard’s announcement is the latest in a series of institutional adoptions of cryptocurrencies that have occurred in recent weeks. On Monday, Tesla reported the purchase of $1.5 billion in Bitcoin from its cash reserve and added that it will soon accept Bitcoin payments for its cars.
Last week, PayPal redoubled its bet on cryptocurrencies by announcing it will offer cryptocurrency payments to its 26 million merchants after its limited cryptocurrency trading services “exceeded expectations.”
A week earlier, Visa President and CEO Al Kelly reaffirmed its commitment to cryptocurrencies and their payment ramps during its first-quarter earnings call.