By making it simpler for banks to participate, Mastercard hopes to make Bitcoin and cryptocurrency accessible to the general public.
The payments giant intends to introduce a program that would assist financial institutions in offering Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading. CNBC reported that Mastercard would serve as a “bridge” between banks and Paxos, a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading platform that PayPal already uses to provide a related service.
Two major reasons banks avoid the asset class is because of security and regulatory compliance but will be handled by Mastercard and Paxos with their new assistance initiative.
While prices have dropped from their all time highs, Mastercard’s chief digital officer Jorn Lambert said surveys still indicate interest for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, around 60% of respondents said they would prefer to test the waters with their current banks rather than invest with other platforms.
“There’s a lot of consumers out there that are really interested in this, and intrigued by crypto, but would feel a lot more confident if those services were offered by their financial institutions,” stated Lambert. “It’s a little scary to some people still.”
Using anti-money-laundering and identity monitoring services, validating transactions, and adhering to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency compliance requirements, Mastercard stated that its role in this new program is to have banks follow all compliance laws.
Lambert added that “it’s hard to believe that the crypto industry will truly go mainstream without embracing the financial industry as we know it.”
In Q1 2023, Mastercard anticipates to pilot their service before “cranking the handle” to expand into new regions. Lambert made no comment regarding which banks have already joined the program.