Mastercard has announced a partnership that will make Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payments possible with physical or digital cards in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mastercard brings Bitcoin payments to the Asia-Pacific region
The company itself reports this in an official statement in which it reveals a new collaboration with three major crypto service providers in the APAC region: Amber, Bitkub and CoinJar.
This collaboration will see the launch of Mastercard payment cards that are funded with cryptocurrencies.
As a result, consumers and businesses in the Asia-Pacific region will soon be able to apply for Mastercard credit, debit or prepaid cards that will allow them to instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into fiat currencies that can be spent anywhere in the world.
There are already similar services on the market, but this time the initiative is by Mastercard itself, and not by some crypto partner issuing cards on the Mastercard circuit. So while the service might ultimately be similar to existing crypto cards for the end-user, what makes the difference here is Mastercard’s direct involvement.
Crypto platforms partnered with Mastercard
Amber Group is a Hong Kong company, Bitkub is from Thailand and CoinJar is from Australia, and they already offer cryptocurrency buying and exchanging services in their respective home markets.
They are the first Asia-Pacific-based crypto platforms to join Mastercard’s Crypto Card programme.
Amber Group operates across three continents and has raised $128 million in funding from investors such as Tiger Global Management, DCM Ventures, Paradigm, Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Blockchain.com, Polychain Capital, Dragonfly Capital and Fenbushi Capital.
Bitkub Capital Group Holdings is the startup with the largest investment in the history of Thai startups and consists of four main business units offering digital asset exchange, consulting, development on blockchain technologies and training.
CoinJar operates in Australia and the UK, with a mission to make it easy for users to use and invest in cryptocurrencies.
Mastercard’s statement also reports that the announcement comes “at a time when interest in cryptocurrencies is at an all-time high across the Asia Pacific region”, so much so that according to the latest Mastercard New Payments Index, 45% of respondents in APAC say they are likely to consider using cryptocurrencies in the coming year.
Crypto Card, Mastercard expands its cryptocurrency services
Mastercard’s Crypto Card programme supports fintech companies in ways that help them reduce barriers to entry into the crypto world by simplifying the onboarding process.
Executive Vice President, Digital & Emerging Partnerships and New Payment Flows for Asia Pacific at Mastercard, Rama Sridhar, said:
“Cryptocurrencies are many things to people—an investment, a disruptive technology, or a unique financial tool. As interest and attention surges from all quarters, their real-world applications are now emerging beyond the speculative. 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”.