Mastercard is strengthening its foothold in the crypto industry following the launch of crypto-linked payment cards across the Asia-Pacific region on Tuesday.
The global payments giant will now offer its clients crypto-funded payment cards that will allow them to convert their digital assets into traditional fiat money in an instant.
The product is being launched in collaboration with three cryptocurrency service providers, namely Amber Group, Bitkub in Thailand, and CoinJar in Australia. The company explained:
Rather than directly transferring cryptocurrencies to a merchant, cardholders will now be able to instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world, both online and offline.
Although Mastercard is yet to disclose which cryptocurrencies would be supported by the card, the company has already identified Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) as two assets that have already been accepted to an extent but haven’t yet reached their maximum potential.
According to research carried out by the firm in the Asia-Pacific region, 45% of people surveyed revealed that they are considering using cryptocurrency in the next year.
The news of the crypto credit card spread like wildfire on Twitter, with influencers promoting the burgeoning mainstream appeal of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Meanwhile, the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a payment option has been relatively slow in comparison to the newfound legitimacy of cryptos as an investable asset class, proven by the market’s recent $3-trillion milestone.
This hasn’t stopped the firm from dabbling into several aspects of the crypto industry, probably in anticipation that digital assets will one day gain deserved recognition and adoption as a means of payment.
According to a BTC PEERS report from last month, Mastercard rolled out a new initiative with assets trading platform Bakkt to enable direct support for cryptocurrencies on its network. The firm also partnered with cryptocurrency exchange CoinJar to launch the first payment card that supports digital currencies in Australia.