The American payment giant Mastercard reveals in a blog post that it will allow merchants to accept payments in encrypted currencies directly via its network during the year 2021. This announcement comes in a global context marked by the boom in digital payments, particularly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Protection at the heart of concerns
However, the company has not specified which assets it will take over. But Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s vice-president in charge of digital assets and the blockchain, says that special attention will be paid to « consumer protection » and compliance with current regulations, especially KYC processes.
In fact, Mastercard already supports encrypted transactions through its partners Wirex, a UK start-up offering a secure online wallet, the US company BitPay and the LVL exchanger. But the cryptosystems do not pass directly through its network. They are converted into traditional currencies by these companies, which then transmit them to Mastercard’s network.
The payment specialist is also involved with the central banks. At the beginning of September, it launched a platform to test their digital currencies, simulating their issuance, distribution and exchange between banks, financial service providers and users.
In the footsteps of PayPal
PayPal made a similar announcement last October. Since November 12, all US users of the online payment service have had access to the encrypted payment service at the network’s 26 million merchants.
Visa, a competitor of Mastercard, is also considering taking over the cryptomoney service. In a conference call last week, company CEO Alfred Kelly said there was « no reason why we can’t add it (a digital currency, editor’s note) to our network ».