Mastercard crypto CipherTrace

Visa Buys CryptoPunk; Mastercard Acquires CipherTrace

Mastercard crypto CipherTrace

Payment giants are deepening their bets on cryptocurrency. After Visa bought a $150,000 CryptoPunk NFT, Mastercard is acquiring blockchain analytics startup CipherTrace.

Crypto intelligence startup CipherTrace develops tools that help businesses and law enforcement root out illicit digital currency transactions. It specializes in crypto-focused anti-money laundering, forensics, and blockchain threat intelligence solutions. Firms like CipherTrace, Chainalysis and Elliptic help governments track illicit funds moving across public blockchains.

A key concern with Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies is that the people transacting them are anonymous. CipherTrace develops an analytics platform that enables the tracking and deanonymization of crypto transactions.

The acquisition of CipherTrace gives Mastercard the artificial intelligence, and cyber capabilities to track over 900 cryptocurrencies. The payment giant will bolster its own cyber security tools and to better comply with crypto regulatory guidelines. Thereby, Mastercard helps businesses identify and understand their risks and to help manage their digital asset regulatory and compliance obligations.

“With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe,” says Mastercard President of Cyber & Intelligence Ajay Bhalla. “Our aim is to build upon the complementary capabilities of Mastercard and CipherTrace to do just this.”

Mastercard, Visa Crypto Debit Cards on the Rise

Mastercard has been ramping up its crypto efforts. It plans to support cryptocurrency transactions directly on the card network, allowing merchants to accept payments in crypto this year.

The criteria for integrating crypto payments include consumer protection, rigid regulatory, and compliance measures such as KYC, according to Mastercard.

The CipherTrace acquisition follows a number of partnerships and investments, including Uphold, crypto exchange Gemini, and crypto payment provider BitPay. Specifically, Mastercard is building platforms to support Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), stablecoins, NFTs, and blockchain technology.

Meanwhile, Visa enters metaverse as it acquires CryptoPunk NFT #7610, launching a new era of NFT-commerce.

Visa believes NFTs have the potential to become an accelerator for the creator economy, lowering the barrier to entry for individual creatives. Additionally, Visa announced its plan to offer crypto payments at 70 million globally in July.

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