[ANN] Mastercard to Test USDC for Payments as Stablecoin Scrutiny Intensifies

[ANN] Mastercard to Test USDC for Payments as Stablecoin Scrutiny Intensifies

Mastercard will use the USDC stablecoin as a bridge asset for cardholders who want to pay for goods using cryptocurrencies. Mastercard has named the first stablecoin and a handful of partner companies that will help cryptocurrency holders spend their digital assets at merchants that accept the payment giant’s cards.In the pilot announced Tuesday, Circle’s USDC (+0.03%) will serve as a bridge between the cryptocurrency in consumers’ digital wallets and the fiat currency paid to merchants. USDC is a digital token that almost always trades at $1 because the issuer promises to redeem it 1-for-1 with greenbacks at any time. While it might sound like adding an extra step, swapping a cryptocurrency for a stablecoin and then exchanging the stablecoin for dollars can be quicker or simpler than going directly from crypto to fiat. For example, some cryptos cannot be easily traded on an exchange for dollars but can be for USDC. Adding this way station will assist cryptocurrency firms that want to offer Mastercard-branded products to their customers, the company said.Aside from Circle, Evolve Bank & Trust and Paxos Trust Co. are involved in the pilot, though their roles are not clear. Mastercard said it is “in discussions” with Evolve and Metropolitan Commercial Bank to issue crypto cards. While Paxos has its own collateralized stablecoin, Paxos standard, Priebe said that for now, USDC is the only stablecoin involved. “While the final choice of stablecoin is left to the issuer and the wallet provider, the stablecoin must conform to our foundational principles on stablecoin enablement,” she said. The company is also in talks with long-running crypto startups Uphold and BitPay to provide digital wallet technology and with three firms from the traditional card business to handle back-end functions, Mastercard said.
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