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Mastercard has announced its plans to support cryptocurrencies later this year. The financial services company announced via a blog post that it will start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on their network, laying the foundations for the future of crypto and payments. Mastercard clearly does not intend to be left behind.

Although Mastercard has already partnered with cryptocurrency payment companies, Wirex and BitPay, to create crypto debit cards, cryptocurrencies still do not move through the Mastercard network. The crypto is converted to fiat before it reaches the network.

“We are here to enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value — traditional or crypto — however they want. It should be your choice, it’s your money”.

According to the announcement, not all cryptocurrencies will be supported on the Mastercard network, as many of the digital assets in circulation do not have strict enough compliance measures and will not meet Mastercard’s requirements. There are four key criteria that will need to be met, including: Vigorous protection of privacy and security of consumers’ information, strict Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance, adherence with local laws and regulations, and stability as a means of payment, not investment.

The last requirement hints at the use of stablecoins, as opposed to digital assets like Bitcoin, which are more often used as investment vehicles and would unlikely be used in the everyday spending of an individual.

Mastercard already boasts a total of 89 blockchain patents granted globally, with an additional 285 blockchain applications pending worldwide.

“We are inspired by so much of the work going on in the payments world — in banking, in emergent fintechs, in crypto — to push forward change. And we are doing as much as we can to set the stage for these players to take the next step forward”.

It appears that Mastercard is leaving Visa in its dust.

Feature image by Alina Kuptsova from Pixabay