Mastercard’s Wirex partnership signals further mainstream adoption of crypto
In one of the latest and most noteworthy examples of this adoption, finance giant Mastercard has reached an agreement with London-based crypto firm Wirex that will allow the latter to issue Mastercard-backed payment cards directly to its customers.
Here is a look at the details of the deal, how it will work to benefit consumers, and what Mastercard’s further expansion into the crypto space could mean for the future of digital assets.
Who is Wirex?
Wirex is a digital payments firm headquartered in London and is also one of the few crypto-related businesses regulated by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority. It is the first native crypto platform to be granted principal membership licensing by Mastercard, meaning it is also the first to be able to directly issue Mastercard-backed payment cards to its customers.
How will the cards work?
As a digital payments platform, Wirex currently lets users buy and sell different forms of crypto and fiat currency from wherever they are in the world. With the advent of the Mastercard agreement, cardholders will be able to instantly convert cryptocurrency into fiat currency and then spend it anywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world.
The deal also includes the world’s first crypto rewards program – known as Cryptoback – through which customers are automatically granted up to 1.5% back in bitcoin for every in-store purchase they make. The card also comes with no fees when used outside of the cardholder’s country.
This means if you are an American traveling abroad and you wish to use bitcoin to complete a transaction, using the card will convert it into the proper fiat currency and allow you to instantly carry out the purchase with no additional charge. In fact, you will actually make money back through the 1.5% Cryptoback rewards program.
Prior to crypto cards, the process of converting crypto into usable fiat currency required you to sell it on a crypto exchange, use a crypto ATM (which are limited in location and typically come with fees and withdrawal limits), complete a peer-to-peer transaction, or execute a bank transfer.
Other key benefits
In addition to zero fees and bitcoin rewards, the new card will simply make it easier for people to buy, hold, and exchange crypto into fiat money, instantly providing additional payment options wherever they are.
Wirex’s vision is stated as a world where all currencies – both fiat and crypto – are equal. By providing consumers with more convenience, reduced costs, and faster transactions, we are taking a step in that direction.
Continued crypto growth for Mastercard
The Wirex agreement is a significant expansion of Mastercard’s current crypto program – known as Mastercard Accelerate.
In the wake of the Wirex deal, Mastercard has simplified some of its other processes in order to help additional crypto companies become principal members and thus roll out their own payment cards, as well.
Mastercard has streamlined its approval process to allow for a reduced time to market for partner products, in addition to making it simpler and more efficient for partners to bring secure and compliant payment methods to fruition.
What this means for the future of crypto
This agreement represents a significant push from one of the world’s leading finance names toward the mainstream adoption of crypto – and we have already seen much of the same from some of its top competitors.
In fact, this is not even the first crypto card to come to market. Wirex came to a similar agreement with Visa last year, as did crypto giant Coinbase, both of which unveiled crypto cards for worldwide use.
Moves like this serve to lessen the barrier that exists between crypto and fiat spaces and highlight the increasing adoption of crypto in mainstream circles. The next step is continued blockchain innovation and investment that will allow these technologies to gain meaningful steam beyond a conceptual level.
Crypto as a vehicle for your family office
As digital currencies continue to transform the finance world, a growing number of family offices and UHNWIs are taking notice and staking claim to crypto as an advantageous alternative investment vehicle.
Those able to invest and remain in the market, diversify, and take advantage of crypto’s asymmetrical risk are not only seeing returns over time but are also helping fuel the development of blockchain for future applications. There has simply never been a better time to get involved and invest in the future of this cutting-edge technology.
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