Mastercard opens up network to cryptocurrencies

Photo: AP

Mastercard announced plans to offer support and access for some cryptocurrencies on its network, Reuters reported. The move is expected later this year. Mastercard’s pledge comes after series of similar vows by major companies. Earlier this week Elon Musk’s Tesla revealed it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment.

Asset manager BlackRock and payments firms Square and PayPal have also recently backed cryptocurrencies. Mastercard already offers customers cards that allow people to transact using their cryptocurrencies, although without going through its network.

"Doing this work will create a lot more possibilities for shoppers and merchants, allowing them to transact in an entirely new form of payment. This change may open merchants up to new customers who are already flocking to digital assets," Mastercard said.

Mastercard specified that not all cryptocurrencies will be supported on its network, adding that many of the hundreds of digital assets in circulation still need to tighten their compliance measures. Many cryptocurrencies have struggled to win the trust of mainstream investors and the general public due to their speculative nature and potential for money laundering.

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