Mastercard joins other big name companies to accept Bitcoin as payment.
Cryptocurrencies have gained major traction in the last few years. To stay on top of the trends, many companies have begun accepting Bitcoin as payment, without getting into the new asset class as an investment.
Some of the big name companies that accept Bitcoin include Microsoft, Overstock, The Home Depot, Starbucks, Whole Foods, NewEgg, and Tesla. MasterCard is the newest of these businesses to begin accepting cryptos.
“Crypto is here to stay,” says Stephen Ryan, COO of CipherTrace, Mastercard’s blockchain analytics company. “If you sit on the sidelines, there’s a generation of customers you will never ever attract. So I suggest you lean in, get smart, get some good analytics, and then find your comfort zone in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.”
There are risks with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The value of cryptocurrencies fluctuates. Mastercard CFO Sachin Mehra views Bitcoin as an “asset class” rather than a true currency.
“For anything to be a payment vehicle in our mind, it needs to have a store of value. If something fluctuates in value every day that’s a problem from a consumer-mindset standpoint. So we view crypto more as an asset class. But as a payment instrument, we think stablecoins and CBDCs [digital currencies issued by central banks] potentially have a little bit more runway,” says Mehra.
Mehra explains how Mastercard facilitates the use of Bitcoin rather than invests in it.
“In the crypto world, we play the role of an on-ramp, with people using our debit and credit products to buy crypto,” Mehra explains. “And we act as the off-ramp: When people want to cash it, we help them gain access to be able to use their crypto balances everywhere Mastercard is accepted.”