Mastercard expands cryptocurrency program

Mastercard is expanding its cryptocurrency program with the addition of Wirex as the first native cryptocurrency platform to be granted a principal membership licence.

The expansion of the Accelerate program will make it easier for companies operating in the crypto space to bring secure, compliant payments to market.

Starting with Wirex as its first partner, cryptocurrency firms will be invited to join the program for emerging FinTehs, giving them access to the infrastructure and resources they need to scale quickly.

As Mastercard principal member, Wirex will be able to directly issue payment cards, making it easier for people to buy, hold and exchange multiple traditional and cryptocurrencies. Consumers can instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency, which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world.

Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships at Mastercard, said: “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.

“Our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay.”

Regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, with a license to issue cards in Europe, Wirex has been growing rapidly over the past 18 months, expanding into the Asia Pacific region and releasing its native Wirex Token.

Later this year, the company plans to launch a next generation of Wirex card for customers in Europe, with features including additional currencies and free international ATM withdrawals. It also plans to start issuing corporate cards for Wirex Business clients.

Currency will always enter Mastercard’s network as traditional fiat currency. Users will also get access to Wirex’s Cryptoback rewards program, which automatically gives customers up to 1.5 per cent back in Bitcoin for every purchase made in-store.

Pavel Matveev, chief executive and co-founder of Wirex, said: “This membership represents a growing interest and recognition in the acceptance of cryptocurrency by leading bodies and regulators and will help us to realise our vision of empowering everyone to experience a world where all currencies, traditional and crypto, are equal.”

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