Mastercard has partnered with three digital asset platforms in Asia to issue payment cards that will allow consumers in the region to convert bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into fiat currencies.
Mastercard announced on Tuesday that it’s joining hands with Hong Kong’s crypto finance firm Amber Group, Thailand’s crypto exchange Bitkub and Australia’s trading platform Coinjar. The partnership intends to introduce cryptocurrency-linked credit, debit and prepaid cards for both individuals and businesses across Asia Pacific. Cardholders will be able to instantly convert bitcoin and other digital currencies into fiat currencies, which can then be spent online or offline with any of the merchants that accept Mastercard payments.
The collaboration comes as interest in cryptocurrencies soars to an all-time high in Asia Pacific, Mastercard said in a statement. The U.S. payment behemoth discovered in its latest survey that 45% of consumers in the region are considering using the digital coins within the next year, higher than the global average of 40%.
“In collaboration with these partners that adhere to the same core principles that Mastercard does—that any digital currency must offer stability, regulatory compliance and consumer protection—Mastercard is expanding what’s possible with cryptocurrencies to give people even greater choice and flexibility in how they pay,” said Rama Sridhar, Mastercard’s executive vice president who oversees digital partnerships in Asia Pacific, in the statement.
Mastercard is bolstering it services as its main rival Visa also seeks to grab a dominant share of the emerging cryptocurrency payment market. Last month, Mastercard announced it had teamed up with New York-listed Bakkt, a digital asset platform spun off by Intercontinental Exchange. The partnership promises to allow U.S. banks and merchants on Mastercard’s payment network to offer crypto-related services, such as providing customers with bitcoin as rewards.
In April, Mastercard joined hands with Gemini, the crypto exchange backed by the billionaire Winklevoss twins, to launch credit cards in the U.S. The move came just a month after trading platform Crypto.com announced its partnership with Visa to roll out a similar service.
Original Source :forbes.com
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