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27 February 2021

Can’t beat ‘em? Join ‘em: Mastercard and Visa make a case for Bitcoin

Can’t beat ‘em? Join ‘em: Mastercard and Visa make a case for Bitcoin


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Mastercard’s and Visa’s foray into crypto is just one example of the ever-growing barrage of mainstream technology and payment companies delving into Bitcoin as an investment, form of payment or investment vehicle, but these two companies represent billions of payments carried out every year.

Both companies have different plans on how they’ll bring cryptocurrency payments into the world of credit card transactions, and several questions have been left unanswered by their announcements, including how exactly the integration will work.

While Mastercard’s announcement made it clear that crypto is coming to the network this year, it does not specify exactly when, and which currencies will be available.

The payments giant hinted in its announcement that stablecoins may be first in line for its network but that other coins may follow.

While it isn’t clear if merchants will have to opt-in to accept cryptocurrency payments or if these payments will be accepted by default, cryptocurrencies will essentially be available as a payment method at over 60 million merchants throughout the world.

It hinted, however, that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will be used in its network in the future.

Both Visa and Mastercard have already been working with several cryptocurrency firms to issue cryptocurrency debit cards that allow users to pay for goods and services with their holdings at millions of merchants worldwide.

Coinbase, BlockFi, Binance, Nexo, Crypto.com and others have issued crypto debit cards, which often include cashback rewards in the form of cryptocurrency.

Eric Stone, head of data science at data analytics firm Flipside Crypto, told Cointelegraph that many such announcements will soon follow, adding:.

These existing crypto debit cards, however, often have relatively high fees associated with payments processing and converting crypto assets to the fiat currency merchants receive.

While there are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding Visa’s and Mastercard’s approaches to processing cryptocurrency payments through their networks, it’s clear that these companies moving into the cryptocurrency space bolsters the legitimacy of the industry.

Ever since PayPal started letting users buy, sell and hold crypto on its platform, Bitcoin and other crypto assets have been further legitimized as their own asset class that is now being accepted by traditional finance firms.

On Yavin, managing partner of Cointelligence Fund, told Cointelegraph that crypto is indeed “gaining more momentum than ever before,” adding:.

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