Mastercard has extended its crypto-currency platform to make it possible for space firms to sell their credit cards themselves.
The business has reached an agreement with Wirex, making the London-based start-up the first “real” cryptocurrency exchange to become a principal member. Which means Wirex will now send cards directly to Mastercard ‘s network.
“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy,” revealed by Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president for digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships.
“Our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay.”
Mastercard will now introduce many crypto-currency companies into the Mastercard Accelerate start-up program.
The step reflects a broader drive from one of the world’s leading financial services companies in the emerging crypto-currency market. It is worth noting though that payment cards with cryptocurrencies are not new.
Coinbase launched its own card last year, in collaboration with Visa, the biggest rival of Mastercard. Most recently, the company has become a Visa founding partner, enabling it to add more innovations of the card most expand it into new markets.
And before the Mastercard launch, Wirex, which was established in 2014, offered a Visa card too. The firm’s software helps users to purchase and sell bitcoin, ether and other tokens, as well as standard currencies such as the US dollar and the euro.
“This is less a watershed moment and more part of a broader, slow and steady legitimization of crypto as the global regulators increasingly put systems and controls in place,” said Simon Taylor, head of ventures at fintech consultancy firm.
Mastercard and Visa have recently demonstrated their participation in the crypto market, most notably by joining up to become members of the digital currency initiative Libra on Twitter. But last year, the two payment companies left Libra, having cold feet after extreme regulatory opposition was faced with the proposal.