Mastercard plans to provide merchants in their system with the ability to accept payments in cryptocurrencies by the end of 2021. CoinDesk writes about this with reference to a source familiar with the situation.
What cryptocurrencies will be accepted and when the service will officially start working is still unknown.
Previously, Mastercard offered limited cryptocurrency transactions through partnerships with card issuers Wirex and Uphold. Such cards only support outgoing payments and do not allow the entire settlement cycle in cryptocurrency: it is converted into fiat currency before being received by the recipient. It is assumed that, thanks to the new initiative, merchants on the Mastercard platform will be able to completely move their relationship with their customers outside the fiat system.
The source noted that the majority of bitcoin holders consider it primarily an investment, not a means of payment. In addition, according to him, the inclusion of the first cryptocurrency in the new Mastercard initiative is not guaranteed. He argues that the selection will be based on the Blockchain Collaboration Principles framework developed by Mastercard in 2019.
The document was prepared against the background of the company’s withdrawal from the Libra stablecoin project and describes methods for assessing stability, consumer protection and legal compliance when choosing partners.
“Many of the 2,600 digital currencies in existence today do not meet these criteria,” Mastercard reported at the time.
Subsequently, the company confirmed information about its plans for cryptocurrencies by posting a message on its blog.
“Regardless of your views on cryptocurrencies – from fanatical to extreme skepticism – the fact remains: these digital assets are becoming an increasingly important part of the payments world. Right now, we are preparing for the future of cryptocurrencies and payments, announcing that Mastercard will begin supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on its network this year. This is a major change and will take a lot of work.
We will be extremely thoughtful in our selection of supported assets based on our own digital currency guidelines that are focused on consumer protection and legal compliance. Our philosophy on cryptocurrencies is simple: Choice matters. Mastercard is not here to recommend that you start using cryptocurrencies. We are here to enable customers, retailers and businesses to digitally move value. ”
For several years, Mastercard has been actively discovering the space of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, having received 89 specialized patents to date and awaiting approval of another 285. These include methods of ensuring the privacy of cryptocurrency transactions, verification of credit card payments on the blockchain, instant processing of payments on the blockchain and refunds when using cryptocurrencies.
The company began to file the first patent for the technology for making bitcoin payments back in 2013, but left it in 2015. In 2019, she organized a team of wallet developers and other people from the cryptocurrency industry and is now also offering clients a platform for testing central bank digital currencies.