Could we see a Mastercard-Backed Bitcoin Debit Card?
Mastercard has given a London-based digital payments firm principal membership status, becoming the “first” native cryptocurrency outfit to do so.
The membership allows Wirex to issue payment cards directly to consumers. This will make it easier for customers to – “Buy, store, exchange and spend your digital or traditional currencies, anytime, anywhere.” – wirexapp.com
Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s executive vice president on digital assets and blockchain, says, “The cryptocurrency market continues to mature … our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay.”
Previously, Wirex’s crypto debit card had been with Visa. Visa is a major supplier of debit/credit cards, and is also the main competitor to Mastercard. The card was issued by German fintech group Wirecard, under license from Visa.
However, a recent $2.1 billion missing cash scandal led to the breakdown of Wirecard, but not before badly affecting the card services of other financial companies like Wirex. Luckily, Wirex were able to find an alternative and were fortunate that Mastercard agreed to the membership to allow them to continue.
Pavel Matveev, chief executive officer and co-founder of Wirex, said the Mastercard principal membership “represents a growing interest and recognition in the acceptance of cryptocurrency by leading bodies and regulators…”
Wirex is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and owns a license to issue cards in Europe.