Mastercard to launch crypto-linked payment cards in Asia Pacific
Mastercard has partnered with three leading cryptocurrency companies in Asia Pacific (APAC) as part of plans to launch crypto-backed payment cards in the region.
According to an announcement by Mastercard today, the trio of partners are Hong Kong-based crypto trading startup Amber Group, Australian cryptocurrency exchange CoinJar, and Siam Commercial bank-owned exchange platform Bitkub.
These three companies are the first APAC-based virtual currency firms to join Mastercard’s Crypto Card Program.
“In collaboration with these partners that adhere to the same core principles that Mastercard does — that any digital currency must offer stability, regulatory compliance and consumer protection — Mastercard is expanding what’s possible with cryptocurrencies to give people even greater choice and flexibility in how they pay,” Rama Sridhar, Mastercard’s executive vice president of digital and emerging partnerships and new payment flows for the APAC region said in the statement.
Mastercard accelerating crypto adoption
Following the partnership, consumers and merchants in the APAC region will soon be able to obtain crypto-backed Mastercard debit, credit, and prepaid cards. This access could simplify the use of cryptocurrencies for users in the region.
In a recent survey by Mastercard, 45% of respondents in the APAC region stated that they would consider adopting crypto for payments in 2022.
Mastercard first announced plans to begin supporting some cryptocurrencies directly on its network back in February. Since then, the company has shown an increasing interest in digital assets.
In September, Mastercard acquired blockchain forensics outfit CipherTrace — an acquisition CEO Michael Miebach called a “massive services opportunity” amid the company’s wider plans to adopt central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and stablecoins.
In October, the company inked a deal with crypto exchange Bakkt to widen the scope of its cryptocurrency service delivery to banks and fintech clients.
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