Mastercard, a payment card network, has partnered up with cryptocurrency service providers Amber and Bitkub to launch the first crypto-funded Mastercard payment card in the Asia Pacific region (APAC).
“Cryptocurrencies can be many things to people – an investment, a disruptive technology or a unique financial instrument. Their real-world applications are becoming more than speculative as interest and attention rises from all directions,” stated Rama Sridhar (Executive Vice President, Digital & Emerging Partnerships and New Payment Flows Asia Pacific, Mastercard).
This announcement comes as some merchants accept payments using digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. A Mastercard survey found that 45 percent of respondents in APAC are open to using cryptocurrency within the next year.
The Bitkub and Amber Group in Thailand, as well as CoinJar in Australia, offer cryptocurrency exchange and purchase services within their respective markets. These are the first APAC-based crypto platforms to join Mastercard’s global Crypto Card Program, which allows cardholders to convert their crypto holdings into fiat currency.
“Rather than transferring cryptocurrency to a merchant cardholders can now instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into fiat currency that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted online or offline. The company stated that currency will always be accepted by Mastercard as traditional fiat currency.
In February 2018, the payment card company announced that it would begin accepting cryptocurrencies on its network.
As a matter-of-fact, the company decided to add cryptocurrencies to its network. Mastercard doesn’t recommend that you use cryptocurrencies. We are here to help customers, merchants, and businesses move digital value – crypto or traditional – however they wish. It’s your money, it should be your choice,” it said.
It also clarified that not all cryptocurrencies today will be supported on the network. It stated that stablecoins are now more reliable and regulated than they were in the past. However, there are still many digital assets in circulation that need to improve their compliance measures so they don’t meet our requirements.