It’s Tuesday, July 21st. If you're new here— Ryze Recaps is a newsletter covering the biggest news Bitcoiners need to know in 2 mins or less.
We’ve got one main story for you today.
Mastercard Partners with Wirex and Breaks Into Crypto
Mastercard announced the expansion of its crypto-asset program, which assists fintech and crypto companies in bringing debit and credit cards to consumers. London-based crypto startup Wirex is officially the first crypto company to be able to directly issue cards on the Mastercard network. Wirex provides crypto exchange, payment, and card services primarily in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific.
By the numbers:
Mastercard finds that up to 20% of the population in some countries owns crypto-assets— a primary motivator for the payments giant to break into the nascent but fast-growing industry.
Wirex claims 3 million users with support for over 100 countries and 30 local currencies. Users in 40 countries can already pay through a Wirex Visa card, and issuing on the Mastercard network as well will allow Wirex to service more consumers.
What they’re saying:
“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today’s digital economy.” - Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard’s EVP of Blockchain Products and Partnerships.
“[The partnership] represents a growing interest and recognition in the acceptance of cryptocurrency by leading bodies and regulators and will help us to realize our vision of empowering everyone to experience a world where all currencies, traditional and crypto, are equal.” - Pavel Matveev, CEO and Co-Founder of Wirex
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Why it matters:
This partnership is the first in Mastercard’s Accelerate Program, which helps fintech and crypto companies navigate complex regulatory frameworks, build better products, and offer card services to consumers. Though they’re backed by centralized corporations, programs like this ultimately help bring Bitcoin and decentralized money to more people worldwide.
This program may be Mastercard’s bid to compete against its rival Visa when it comes to innovative financial technology. Visa has been making significant strides in cutting-edge fintech. Most notably, it acquired banking and data infrastructure startup Plaid earlier this year for $5.3 Billion.
Mastercard is significantly behind Visa in terms of offering support for the crypto industry. In February, Visa partnered with Coinbase and granted it the power to issued Visa debit cards to its users. Visa has also partnered with Bitcoin-focused startups Fold and Zap to enable spending and Bitcoin-back rewards. Interestingly, all three of Visa’s crypto partners this year are US-based, but Mastercard’s first partner doesn’t even service the US. More on Visa in our July 3rd Recap.
We’ll be watching Mastercard closely to see how it squares up against Visa, as innovative crypto companies become the new battleground for these two payments incumbents.
That’s all for today. Have a happy National Junk Food Day, and we’ll be back again with another Ryze Recap!