Mastercard launched crypto-linked payment cards across the Asia-Pacific region on Tuesday, making a big splash in the digital asset market.
Mastercard is partnering with three cryptocurrency service providers in Thailand, Bitkub in Australia, and CoinJar in Australia to offer crypto-funding payment cards that allow users to instantly turn their digital assets into traditional fiat money.
According to a statement from the company, instead of directly converting crypto assets into traditional fiat currency, cardholders can instantly convert their cryptocurrencies and spend them anywhere Mastercard is accepted, online or offline.
The company did not specify which crypto assets would be supported, but it did mention Bitcoin and Ethereum as two that are already accepted by some merchants, but haven't yet achieved widespread adoption. Forty-five percent of people surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region say they are considering using cryptocurrency within the next year, according to Mastercard's own research.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gained mainstream appeal thanks to social media influencers touting the crypto credit cards. Crypto has experienced a rebirth as an investment asset class in recent years, as evidenced by the market's recent $3 trillion milestones. However, the adoption of crypto in the payments sector is much slower.
Meanwhile, MasterCard has been highly active in the cryptocurrency market, perhaps anticipating a day when digital assets will gain traction as a payment mechanism.
Mastercard announced last month that it would allow American partners to offer crypto loyalty rewards. Mastercard says it plans to enable customers in the United States to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies using custodial wallets through its partnership with digital asset platform Bakkt.