Photo: Coin Telegraph
(Coin Telegraph) - On Feb 10, Mastercard announced that it would start supporting a select few cryptocurrencies on its payment network. According to the payments giant, the inclusion of cryptocurrencies will allow customers to “save, store and send money in new ways” while opening up new opportunities for merchants as well.
The announcement followed a presentation on Jan 30 in which Visa reaffirmed its plans to continue to push for cryptocurrency payments and on-ramps, showing that the company has long-term plans for the sector.
Mastercard’s and Visa’s foray into crypto is just one example of the ever-growing barrage of mainstream technology and payment companies delving into Bitcoin as an investment, form of payment or investment vehicle, but these two companies represent billions of payments carried out every year.
The gatekeeper effect: Let the bulls in
When Mastercard’s announcement was made, Bitcoin was trading at about $46,400. Since then, the cryptocurrency has kept on growing to hit a new all-time high above $58,000, with the news arguably playing a factor.
Furthermore, in the week that followed the announcement, the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in North America was approved by the Ontario Securities Commission. In its first few hours of trading, it neared $100 million in trading volume.
What this means for cryptocurrencies
So, what do Mastercard’s and Visa’s endeavours mean for the cryptocurrency world? As of the fourth quarter of 2020, there are 246 million Mastercard credit cards in the United States and 966 million worldwide, while Visa reports it has 3.5 billion cards in use throughout the world and that its network processes over 140 billion transactions per year.
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