• Mastercard collaborates with three Asian cryptocurrency companies to launch Bitcoin payment cards

  • Mastercard has teamed up with three Asian digital asset platforms to launch payment cards that will allow consumers in the region to convert bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into fiat currencies.

    Mastercard announced on Tuesday that it is collaborating with Hong Kong’s Amber Group, Thailand’s Bitkub, and Australia’s trading platform Coinjar. The collaboration intends to launch cryptocurrency-linked credit, debit, and prepaid cards for individuals and businesses throughout Asia Pacific. Cardholders will be able to instantly convert bitcoin and other digital currencies into fiat currencies, which can then be spent at any merchant that accepts Mastercard payments, online or offline.

    The collaboration comes as interest in cryptocurrencies reaches an all-time high in Asia Pacific, according to a statement from Mastercard. According to the latest survey conducted by the U.S. payment behemoth, 45 percent of consumers in the region are considering using digital coins within the next year, which is higher than the global average of 40 percent.

    “Through collaboration with these partners who share the same core principles as Mastercard—that any digital currency must offer stability, regulatory compliance, and consumer protection—Mastercard is expanding what’s possible with cryptocurrencies to give people even more choice and flexibility in how they pay,” said Rama Sridhar, Mastercard’s executive vice president who oversees digital partnerships in Asia Pacific, in a statement.

    Mastercard is expanding its services as its main rival Visa seeks to establish a dominant position in the emerging cryptocurrency payment market. Mastercard announced a partnership with Bakkt, a digital asset platform spun off by Intercontinental Exchange, last month. The collaboration promises to enable US banks and merchants on Mastercard’s payment network to provide crypto-related services, such as rewarding customers with bitcoin.

    Mastercard partnered with Gemini, the crypto exchange founded by the billionaire Winklevoss twins, in April to launch credit cards in the United States. The announcement comes less than a month after trading platform Crypto.com announced a partnership with Visa to launch a similar service.

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