In another win for Bitcoin-lovers, Mastercard has revealed it will begin supporting select cryptocurrencies on its network.
Executive vice president of blockchain at Mastercard, Raj Dhamodharan, said the company would start to enable customers, merchants and businesses to move digital value however they want.
While Dhamodharan did not reveal exactly what kind of cryptocurrency would be supported, he said stablecoins with “reliability and security” would be brought onto the network.
“Doing this work will create a lot more possibilities for shoppers and merchants, allowing them to transact in an entirely new form of payment,” he said.
“This change may open merchants up to new customers who are already flocking to digital assets, and help sellers build loyalty with existing customers who want this additional option. And customers will be able to save, store and send money in new ways.”
It marks another move towards mainstreaming crypto assets.
Just this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the company had purchased a whopping US$1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin, and that they would begin accepting it as payment in the future.
The investment represented around 10 per cent of Tesla’s cash reserves, and was the largest corporate purchase of Bitcoin to date.
Last October, Paypal also announced it would allow customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency directly from their PayPal account.
Twitter’s chief financial officer Ned Segal also revealed earlier this week that the company is considering whether to add Bitcoin to its balance sheet, but nothing is concrete yet.
Segal said in a CNBC interview on Wednesday that Twitter was considering paying employees in Bitcoin should they ask to be paid that way, as well as other vendors.
"We want to be thoughtful about it over time, but we haven't made any changes yet,” he said.
So what does this mean for investors?
According to eToro’s cryptoasset analyst, Simon Peters, Mastercard’s announcement was another major milestone for the industry, and it could soon be reflected in prices.
“Mastercard is the operator of the second-largest network of credit cards in the world, and for a business of that size to be making this decision shows the long-term trend for cryptoasset adoption,” Peters said.
He said the move had “real long-term implications” for these digital assets.
“Bitcoin and its peers are, quite simply, going to be part of the mainstream financial universe sooner rather than later,” he said.
“I expect demand to surge and see bitcoin prices hitting at least $70,000 by the end of this year.”
Twitter’s comments also strengthen Bitcoin’s long-term prospects, with Peters saying it represents a shift away from traditional financial institutions.
“They want democratisation of money and bitcoin and other cryptoassets represent a chance to achieve that,” he said.
“We would expect many more companies to follow suit by both integrating Bitcoin into payrolls, or by investing in it as part of a diversification of their balance sheets.”