Mastercard says it will begin to accept cryptocurrencies on its network in 2021.
In a blog post by Raj Dhamodharan, its executive vice president for digital assets, blockchain products and partnerships, the company said it is preparing for the future of crypto and payments.
“Whatever your opinions on cryptocurrencies — from a dyed-in-wool fanatic to utter skeptic — the fact remains that these digital assets are becoming a more important part of the payments world,” the blog post read.
“This is a big change that will require a lot of work. We will be very thoughtful about which assets we support based on our principles for digital currencies, which focus on consumer protection and compliance.
“Our philosophy on cryptocurrencies is straightforward: It’s about choice. Mastercard isn’t here to recommend you start using cryptocurrencies. But we are here to enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value – traditional or crypto – however, they want.
“To be completely clear, not all of today’s cryptocurrencies will be supported on our network. While stablecoins are more regulated and reliable than in the recent past, many of the hundreds of digital assets in circulation still need to tighten their compliance measures, so they won’t meet our requirements.”
Mastercard said this development will create more possibilities for shoppers and merchants to transact in an entirely new form of payment.
It listed consumer protection, strict compliance protocols including know your customer (KYC), compliance with local laws and regulations in the regions where they are used and the ability to be used as a payment option as the criteria to be used in selecting the cryptocurrencies to be added to its network.
The Central Bank of Nigeria recently directed banks and other financial institution to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions.
The CBN argues that cryptocurrencies pose the risk of loss of investments, money laundering, terrorism financing, illicit fund flows and other criminal activities.