Mastercard is partnering three leading cryptocurrency service providers in Asia Pacific to launch crypto-funded Mastercard payment cards for consumers and businesses in the region that will enable them to convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency.
The three digital asset service providers are Amber Group from Hong Kong, Bitkub in Thailand, and CoinJar in Australia, all of which offer cryptocurrency purchase and exchange services in their respective domestic markets. These companies are the first Apac-based cryptocurrency platforms to join Mastercard’s global crypto card programme which was designed to make it simpler and faster for crypto firms to bring secure, compliant payment cards to market, as consumers increasingly seek to fund everyday transactions securely and efficiently with digital currencies.
While some merchants already accept payments in digital currencies such as Bitcoin or Eth, this form of acceptance is not widespread. Rather than directly transferring cryptocurrencies to a merchant, cardholders will now be able to instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world, both online and offline. Currency will always enter Mastercard’s network as traditional fiat currency.
This announcement comes at a time when interest in cryptocurrencies is at an all-time high across the Asia Pacific region. According to the latest Mastercard new payments index, 45 percent of those surveyed in Apac say they are likely to consider using cryptocurrency in the next year – a huge jump over the 12 percent last year, and higher than the global average of 40 percent.
“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,” said Rama Sridhar, Mastercard executive vice president, digital & emerging partnerships and new payment flows, Asia Pacific.
“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.”
The Crypto Card Program is part of Mastercard’s strategy in the digital assets space to help provide customers, merchants and businesses with more choice in how they move digital value. To this end, Mastercard supports participating fintech companies by reducing barriers to entry, streamlining the onboarding process and offering access to dedicated fintech and digital asset experts, and in-market teams to accelerate their growth and execution.
“Amber Group is committed to serving clients with best-in-class technology and innovative product offerings. By joining forces with Mastercard, we will leverage our combined technology, solutions, and expertise to offer users in applicable jurisdictions a more streamlined digital finance experience,” said Michael Wu, founder and CEO of Amber Group.
“Thailand is one of the most crypto-oriented markets in Asia Pacific, and so turning that broad asset ownership into something which is usable in an everyday context is a major step forward for Bitkub and our customers,” said Jirayut Srupsrisopa, founder and group CEO of Bitkub.
“As one of the world’s longest-running crypto exchanges, we’re thrilled to partner with a global giant like Mastercard to make cryptocurrency more accessible and useful than it’s ever been before,” said Asher Tan, CEO of CoinJar.