Mastercard: Eliminate the ‘Fiat Burden’ Crypto Card

Mastercard: Eliminate the ‘Fiat Burden’ Crypto Card

The company said that it is partnering with Circle, Paxos, Evolve Bank & Trust, Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Uphold, BitPay, Apto Payments, i2c Inc. and Galileo Financial Technologies. And in eliminating the “burden” of fiat conversion for those partners, the company is starting with the issuer side — chiefly because that is where the demand is now. Read more: Mastercard To Help Cardholders Spend Crypto By Easing Conversions To Fiat Using Platforms For The Conversion 

No easy task in a nascent ecosystem where the lift for crypto innovators and the crypto innovator partners that would like to enable that spend. They lack the infrastructure necessary to convert crypto into fiat universally accepted by merchants and acquirers. It’s a technical heavy lift that requires time and investment — and many of these crypto native firms could use a helping hand. But that option is still in the future. Dhamodharan said issuing crypto cards is a process currently rife with friction, marked by several steps involved for issuers who have to first convert holdings into fiat for consumers to use them at the physical point of sale.

To that end, Mastercard, late last month, launched a program to helps issuers simplify and streamline their crypto card programs — an enhancement to its existing Crypto Card program. Eventually, as Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships at Mastercard, told Karen Webster, transactions on those crypto cards will likely be settled directly in cryptocurrencies.

At present, Mastercard has not said which currencies will be added to the network. Still, as cryptos are added to the network, issuers can settle with Mastercard in those currencies and acquirers can get paid. “Ultimately they may choose to pay those currencies to merchants,” he said. Step by Step  One key difference, of course, at least with cryptos, lies with the blockchain versus traditional rails (though Dhamodharan noted that Mastercard has been exploring blockchain’s potential for a while.)

Enabling the crypto-to-fiat conversion — and eyeing the eventual direct settlement in cryptos — is no different than the traditional work Mastercard does with issuers and acquirers to enable settlement in any number of currencies around the globe. In terms of mechanics, with the August announcement, Mastercard is not directly taking crypto into its Treasury yet, so it is working with Paxos and Circle. Those firms, he said, will use their platforms to convert as-yet-unnamed crypto to fiat through fiat-backed stablecoins.

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