Visa and Mastercard pause new crypto partnerships

Are Visa and Mastercard Pausing Crypto? Aussie Web3 Payment Providers Are Not Slowing Down

3 min read

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Visa’s Head of Crypto has hit back at a Reuters report that Visa and Mastercard, the two largest payment processors in the world, are “slamming the breaks” on upcoming crypto-related partnerships due to unstable market conditions.

In the wake of recent crypto meltdowns, Reuters reported that the payment giants are allegedly looking to pull back on their cryptocurrency push and halt any new partnerships with cryptocurrency companies.

A spokesperson from Visa claimed that:

“Recent high-profile failures in the crypto sector are an important reminder that we have a long way to go before crypto becomes a part of mainstream payments and financial services.”

Visa spokesperson.

But despite new partnerships being put on hold, Mastercard said that their overarching strategy for integrating cryptocurrency payments remains unchanged:

“Our efforts continue to focus on the underlying blockchain technology and how that can be applied to help address current pain points and build more efficient systems,” a Mastercard spokesperson said.

Visa’s Head of Crypto says crypto partnerships are still going ahead

Cuy Sheffield, Head of Crypto at Visa hit back at the Reuters report, describing it as “inaccurate” and said that Visa will continue to partner with crypto companies to facilitate payments made in cryptocurrencies.

In a tweet thread, Sheffield said that Visa has every intention to continue making progress on its cryptocurrency product roadmap and will work to “build new products that can facilitate stablecoin payments in a secure, compliant, and convenient way.”

“Despite the challenges and uncertainty in the crypto ecosystem, our view has not changed that fiat-backed digital currencies running on public blockchains have the potential to play an important role in the payments ecosystem,” Sheffield added.

On February 13, Visa inked a long-term partnership deal with Web3 payments firm Wirex to expand operations in the Asia-Pacific region and the United Kingdom, in a push to bring wider crypto payment alternatives to retail consumers.

Crypto partnership landscape so far

Just last week, Mastercard announced a partnership with a new Web3 payment provider called ‘Immersve’ which would see users in Australia and New Zealand able to make crypto payments on digital and physical products. The company will use decentralised protocols to settle crypto transactions at outlets that accept Mastercard payments.

On January 23 this year, Mastercard and Binance announced plans to launch a crypto-fiat debit card for Brazilian users.

In August last year, Visa and Mastercard both partnered with international crypto exchange Binance to issue crypto-linked payment cards for everyday users around the globe.

In November 2021, Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange released their flagship crypto debit card to international users, which was launched in partnership with Visa.

Binance’s European version of its crypto debit card has been available to residents of the European Economic Area since 2020.

Why there’s still a storm ahead

Still, the report of slowing crypto partnership hints at a broader theme in the relationship between digital asset firms and the world of traditional finance. Earlier this year, Binance suspended US Dollar deposits via the SWIFT network citing issues with its banking partner Signature Bank.

The retreat in cryptocurrency ventures also stems from mounting regulatory pressure in the United States.

Last month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reached a settlement agreement with the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, fining the firm US$30 million and ordering it to shutter its ‘staking’ products to customers in the US.

Additionally, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) ordered Paxos — the cryptocurrency firm responsible for issuing Binance’s dollar-pegged stablecoin ‘BUSD’ to stop creating any new tokens.

It was revealed days later that the SEC also plans to sue Paxos over its issuance of BUSD, with the regulator claiming that Binance’s USD stablecoin is actually an unregistered security.