Interest in crypto has been growing steadily for the past few years. In some countries, the rate of crypto ownership is as high as 20%. A growing number of merchants and financial institutions are also beginning to accept crypto payments. Mastercard, one of the biggest players in the payments sector, has been keeping a close watch on these developments.
Mastercard Expands its Activities in the Crypto Sector
On July 20, 2020, Mastercard announced that it had expanded its crypto program. It would now be easier and faster for partners to bring secure and compliant payments cards to the market. Players in the crypto market are invited to join the Mastercard Accelerate program. The program is targeted at emerging brands and fintechs, giving them everything they need to succeed.
Wirex Makes History
Concurrent to this announcement, Mastercard also announced that Wirex had become the first crypto-native firm to receive principal membership from Mastercard. According to Raj Dhamodharan, an Executive VP at Mastercard, the crypto market was continuing to grow and Mastercard was a driving factor in that growth. He noted that the payments processor was helping to create a safe and secure experience for businesses and consumers in the digital economy. The VP said that their work with Wirex and other players in the crypto sector was helping to spur innovation and empower consumers with more choices when making payments.
About the Wirex Mastercard Deal
With the principle membership, Wirex will be able to issue payment cards to consumers. As a result, it will be easier for them to purchase, hold, and exchange multiple cryptocurrencies. Consumers can convert their crypto into fiat instantly, which they can spend at any location where Mastercard is accepted. Users of Wirex will also benefit from the Wirex Cryptoback rewards program. Via the program, consumers receive up to 1.5% back in BTC for each in-store purchase.
According to Pavel Matveev, the CEO of Wirex, they were very excited to be the first crypto-native firm to receive principal membership approval from Mastercard. He added that it represented a growing interest in crypto as well as recognition by leading players in the financial world. The CEO said the move would enable them to achieve their vision of allowing people to live in a world where fiat and cryptocurrencies were equal.
The UK’s FCA regulates Wirex and it is licensed to issue cards in Europe. The company has been experiencing rapid growth in the past 18 months and it has successfully expanded into the Asia Pacific region. Wirex also successfully released its native Wirex Token (WXT) and it plans to launch the new generation Wirex card towards the end of 2020. The cards will initially be available to its European customers. They will support more currencies and will offer free international ATM withdrawals. Additionally, the company is working on issuing corporate cards for its Wirex Business customers.
About Mastercard Accelerate
The Accelerate program is designed to provide fintechs and crypto partners with a simple single entry point for dealing with Mastercard. Via the program, crypto partners can be onboarded into Mastercard in weeks. During the process, firms will be provided with guidance to ensure everything works out successfully.
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