The ongoing cryptocurrency craze has convinced many in the financial services industry that digital currencies are the future, and many large corporations are stepping up to enter this space as quickly as possible. Payments platforms have been among the first to do so, with PayPal recently beginning to accept crypto payments at participating merchants, which will definitely increase the number of crypto users in the near future. However, this could be trumped by the entry of Mastercard, which is an almost universal payment network, into the crypto space.
Mastercard will begin allowing holders of its cards to transact in certain cryptocurrencies very soon, and it is also working with various central banks globally on their own efforts to launch central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). According to Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships at Mastercard, the company will be emphasizing consumer protections and compliance networks in its efforts to work with cryptocurrencies. Mastercard already has partnerships with Wirex and BitPay, among other crypto providers, but these companies convert crypto into fiat currencies when transactions are processed. Mastercard is now looking to enable crypto transactions in the truest sense of the word, where the receiving entity will receive cryptocurrency tokens, and not units of the fiat currency, upon the completion of transactions.
This will be a true gamechanger in terms of the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the broader consumer space, as it will allow more merchants to be able to accept cryptocurrencies, since they would already be a part of Mastercard’s network. It will accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a payments method, which has already seen a lot of traction over the last few months, with quite a few online businesses beginning to accept cryptocurrency payments. The online gambling and casino industry is one such, where there are various sites, allowing people to deposit in the form of cryptocurrency, for example, and also using blockchain to support and improve their litecoin gambling games, in case they accept this crypto, and payments systems. With more merchants and businesses being able to transact using cryptocurrencies through Mastercard’s network, we can expect this to accelerate crypto usage in the online casino industry even further.
Mastercard has certainly taken the lead among payment processors in this regard, with rival Visa not having any plans for specific investment into crypto, although they have stated that if cryptocurrencies do become a standard means of exchange they would add it to its network which already supports 160 currencies. Of course, the point here is that by then, Mastercard could be far ahead of its rival, and even conceivably have become the standard for cryptocurrency payments, which would be a huge and promising market.
There is no word yet on which cryptocurrencies will be supported by Mastercard’s network, but the various coins on the market will have to meet Mastercard’s strict compliance requirements, which means that even the likes of Bitcoin are not certain to be supported, at least not from the start.
Mastercard has been preparing for this sort of situation for a while now – the company already has 89 patents related to blockchain, while there are a further 285 awaiting approval all over the world. This shows how the company has somewhat accurately foreseen that blockchain and cryptocurrencies could be the forces which will drive economies in the future, and has taken proactive steps to be able to take advantage of this when these become accepted by the majority of people and economies. We can only wait and watch as to when this proposed network by Mastercard comes to fruition, but it is certain that the payments giant has already taken huge strides towards being the leader for crypto transactions whenever they hit optimum market penetration.
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