Mastercard Charges Forward With Crypto Immersion

Return to Crypto blogs
Haider Jamal
October 18,2022

Mastercard wants to bring crypto to the mainstream by making it easier for banks to participate in the burgeoning industry. The payments giant therefore intends to announce a program which will assist financial institutions in offering cryptocurrency trading capabilities.

Mastercard will thus serve as a bridge between PayPal and Paxos. According to the company, Mastercard and Paxos shall manage regulatory compliance and security, which are two of the main reasons banks typically avoid the asset class to begin with.

Despite the infamous volatility associated with crypto, Mastercards Chief Digital Officer, Jorn Lambert, stated that there is still significant demand for the asset, however it is also worth mentioning that about 60% of respondents want to test the waters a bit first before getting fully involved.

Lambert further indicated that numerous consumers have expressed a passing interest in crypto, but would feel more comofortable if those services were provided by familiar financial institutions instead of relatively unknown entities.

Both Mastercard and Visa have been making waves in the crypto space. Mastercard has already collaborated with Coinbase on NFTs and Bakkt to enable banks and merchants in its network to provide cryptocurrency-related services. Visa recently announced that it has over 70 crypto collaborations and has partnered with FTX to provide crypto debit cards in 40 countries.







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July 13,2024

German Government Becomes Laughing Stock After Running Out Of BTC

Germany has emptied all its Bitcoin (BTC) holdings, prompting ridicule by pretty much everyone on social media. According to Arkham Intelligence, the official on-chain Bitcoin wallet for the German government now shows a balance of zero. This move signals the likely end of sell pressure by one of the largest economies in Europe. On-chain indicators suggest a potential local bottom is imminent.

 

What Happened

As of late Thursday, Arkham reported that the government held just 4,925 BTC (valued at $282.45 million). This is a significant decrease compared to the 50,000 BTC held in mid-June, originally seized via the movie piracy site Movie2k in January. Early Friday saw the government receiving 4,169 BTC back through exchanges like Kraken, Coinbase, and Bitstamp, before promptly redistributing 2,700 BTC by 5:00 AM ET.

By 10:00 AM, an additional 2,300 BTC was sent to Kraken, an unidentified address, and likely institutional deposit or over-the-counter trading services. Later in the day, the remaining 3,846 BTC ($223.8 million) was transferred to the institutional trading desk Flow Traders.

 

A Critical Error

This sale by Germany coincided with the U.S. government recently auctioning off seized coins and concerns over repayments to Mt. Gox creditors. Online, Bitcoin investors are both celebrating the sell-off and criticizing the decision by the German government to exchange coins for fiat currency.

Germany selling off their seized BTC could be seen as a significant strategic mistake in the coming decades, tweeted Reflexivity Research Co-Founder Will Clemente. Michael Saylor also subtly criticized the move, tweeting in German, Du verkaufst deine Bitcoin nicht (You do not sell your Bitcoin).

With the sell-off complete, on-chain analysts believe the current price of BTC represents an attractive entry point for new investors. Institutional investors have been accumulating Bitcoin at the fastest rate since March, suggesting confidence in buying opportunities. Meanwhile, short-term holders selling at a loss indicates peak market fear, potentially signaling a forthcoming price correction.

 

July 12,2024

Alchemy Pay And Mastercard Team Up To Bolster Security Measures

Mastercard has reportedly integrated its account opening API into Alchemy Pay, enhancing security measures and risk management for various Alchemy Pay features including On and Off-ramp solutions, NFT Checkout, and Crypto Card Solution.

 

Combating Fraud

The collaboration aims to combat identity fraud and other malicious activities using advanced machine learning for user detection and authentication, significantly lowering instances of fraudulent behavior.

Alchemy Pay, headquartered in Singapore, serves as a crypto payment gateway linking cryptocurrencies with traditional fiat currencies. Integration with Mastercard enables Alchemy Pay to assess user risk profiles and steer them through appropriate procedures, providing heightened safeguards against identity fraud.

 

Looking Ahead

Established in 2017, Alchemy Pay has expanded considerably, securing Authorized Payment Institution licenses across multiple countries and extending its network to encompass over 300 payment channels across 173 countries.

For further details, Mastercard has partnered with leading US banks to advance distributed ledger technology for banking payments, thereby boosting efficiency in cross-border payments and reducing fraud risks.

 

July 12,2024

President Biden Believes His Victory Is Assured In Bizarre Speech

United States President Joe Biden has affirmed that he will remain committed to the 2024 presidential election unless polling data unequivocally indicates he cannot win. His recent remarks, during a press conference, responded to questions about whether he would reconsider his candidacy if his team presented data suggesting Kamala Harris might perform better against Donald Trump.

Moreover, many young crypto enthusiasts in the US distrust Biden due to concerns over potential regulatory restrictions on cryptocurrencies under his administration. They also worry about his proposals to increase capital gains taxes, which could diminish their profitability. Additionally, his perceived ties to traditional finance and economic strategies further alienate younger generations who value decentralization and technological innovation.

 

Delusional Yet Headstrong

The comments made by President Biden come amid mounting pressure by fellow Democrats urging him to withdraw following a lackluster debate with Trump. He was also asked about the possibility of releasing his delegates to vote independently at the Democratic National Convention, potentially setting the stage for the first contentious nomination battle in decades.

Regarding delegate freedom, Biden stated they are free to make their own choices but emphasized his overwhelming primary support. Despite speculations, he downplayed the likelihood of a scenario where the convention would reject him in favor of another candidate.

 

Time For A Change

During the aforementioned event, Biden mistakenly referred to Kamala Harris as Vice President Trump and justified his choice of her as running mate based on her qualifications for the presidency. At an earlier NATO summit, Biden introducing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as President Putin drew both amusement and concern.

Following the press conference, Representative Jim Himes reiterated calls for Biden to step aside, praising his service but arguing that a different candidate is needed to effectively challenge Trump and the MAGA movement. Representative Scott Peters echoed these concerns, emphasizing the critical importance of the upcoming election and suggesting that current strategies are not yielding favorable outcomes.

 

July 11,2024

BRICS Builds Momentum As India And Russia Look To Ditch The Dollar

India and Russia are doing their best to no longer rely on the US dollar in their trade relations going forward. They are leveraging their national payment systems, RuPay and MIR, to facilitate smoother cross-border transactions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India met with Russian officials in Moscow to discuss integrating RuPay and MIR for trade purposes.

 

Supporting Local Currencies

India is willing to utilize the aforementioned systems for transactions with Russia, signaling a big move towards de-dollarization. This decision is expected to yield financial benefits by using local currencies and avoiding exchange rate costs.

Andrey Kostin, CEO of the VTB Bank in Russia, emphasized the necessity of developing a settlement system that includes the global south, enabling transactions in national currencies rather than the US dollar. Despite maintaining friendly ties with the United States, India is gradually aligning more closely with Russia and other BRICS nations.

 

Dollar Still Going Strong

India expressed interest in enhancing cooperation with G20 nations, indicating broader strategic realignments. While these moves by BRICS countries suggest a trend towards diversification and de-dollarization, it is worth mentioning that the US currency remains dominant globally. A recent study highlighted that the dollar continues to lead in foreign reserve holdings, trade invoicing, and currency transactions worldwide, maintaining its role as the primary global reserve currency for the foreseeable future.

Furthermore, India has generally taken a cautious stance on cryptocurrencies, expressing concerns about potential risks and volatility while exploring the possibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Russia, on the other hand, has shown a more open attitude, moving towards regulating and legalizing cryptocurrencies while also considering its own digital currency initiatives.

 

July 11,2024

BitMEX Finally Admits To Violating AML Laws

US Attorney Damian Williams has alleged that the failure by BitMEX to establish and maintain a sufficient AML program posed risks of extensive money laundering and sanctions avoidance in the financial system.

 

Guilty As Charged

BitMEX founders Arthur Hayes, Benjamin Delo, and Samuel Reed were aware that their inadequate AML measures impacted US-based users, breaching federal regulations. BitMEX facilitated significant money laundering and sanctions evasion, endangering the integrity of the financial system, Williams remarked on Wednesday. This admission of guilt emphasizes the importance for cryptocurrency entities to comply with U.S. laws to operate in the U.S. market, he added.

 

The Importance Of AML Compliance

In 2022, Hayes, Delo, and Reed were ordered to collectively pay a $30 million civil fine and were placed on probation following their guilty pleas for AML violations. Anti-Money Laundering compliance in crypto is crucial because it helps prevent illicit activities like money laundering and terrorism financing. By adhering to AML regulations, cryptocurrency firms maintain financial integrity, protect investors, and ensure sustainable growth in a regulated environment.

 

July 10,2024

Cardano Inches Closer To Historic Chang Update

Cardano (ADA) is making significant strides towards its highly anticipated Chang upgrade, recently unveiling Cardano Node 9.0.0. Romain Pellerin, CTO at Input Output Global (IOG), emphasized the importance of this milestone, describing it as pivotal and foundational.

 

Time To Prepare

According to Pellerin, operators are urged to prepare for the Chang upgrade, which introduces decentralized governance, empowering the Cardano community to influence the future of the network directly on-chain.

The Chang upgrade, expected by the end of July, is set to be one of the largest updates for Cardano to date. Charles Hoskinson also commended the latest node release, underscoring its significance in the lead-up to the Chang upgrade. Historically, Cardano has experienced positive market responses following major upgrades, with previous instances indicating significant price surges.

 

A Crucial Upgrade

Node 9.0.0 is a critical release that includes essential changes for the Conway ledger era, encompassing on-chain governance through CIP-1694, support for Plutus v1 reference scripts, and Plutus script signature support via CIP-69. It marks the first node capable of spanning the 9.0 hard fork (Chang) boundary across mainnet and long-running testnets like Preprod.

However, the production environment currently supports only the bootstrap phase of CIP-1694 under Protocol Version 9.0, pending the full transition to enable DRep voting and all governance actions under Protocol Version 10.0. A valid Conway-era Genesis file, necessary to complete the Chang hard fork, will be supplied later, necessitating a minor configuration update.

 

July 10,2024

CBOE SEC Filing Confirms Solana ETF Plan

Following previous unsuccessful attempts at introducing Solana (SOL) exchange-traded funds (ETFs), new efforts are underway to list the highly traded cryptocurrency. According to CoinGecko, SOL ranks as the most popular blockchain ecosystem this year, closely followed by Ethereum (ETH).

 

Now We Wait

Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Global Markets, an exchange operator, has submitted a request to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for ETFs linked to Solana. Specifically, products by asset managers VanEck and 21Shares are involved. This initiates the process for the Commission to either approve or deny the 19b-4 application. Under SEC rules, the Commission has 240 days to decide on such applications.

Rob Marrocco, Global Head of ETP listings at CBOE Global Markets, recently stated they are addressing the growing investor interest in SOL, one of the most actively traded cryptocurrencies alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum. This follows a successful listing by CBOE of the first U.S. Spot Bitcoin ETFs and SEC approval for rule filings to list spot Ether ETFs.

 

Not Just Solana

VanEck filed the S-1 form with the SEC for SOL in June, followed by 21Shares the next day. The S-1 form is necessary for offering a new security on the market. Additionally, self-regulatory organizations use the 19b-4 form to notify the SEC of rule changes, requiring justification before approval.

It is noteworthy that CBOE is not focusing solely on SOL, as their 19b-4 filings for Ethereum were approved by the SEC in May 2024, with ETH ETF trading set to commence pending final approval in a two-stage process. Experts anticipate significant liquidity for SOL if the ETF is approved, projecting around $3 billion in inflows over time, with a substantial portion potentially through ETFSwap.

 

July 09,2024

Lionel Messi Promotes Solana Meme Coin Through Instagram

Football legend Lionel Messi has embraced meme culture by promoting WaterCoin (WATER), a Solana-based meme coin, on his Instagram. WaterCoin aims to raise awareness about water-related issues and plans to evolve into an ecological coin in the future, according to its documentation.

 

Pros And Cons

WaterCoin has a comprehensive roadmap that outlines its journey starting with the initial presale through centralized exchange listings and celebrity partnerships to its ultimate goal of becoming a charity-focused environmental currency. However, specific details on how these goals will be achieved are sparse. Observers note that the price of the token has shown characteristics akin to pump and dump schemes.

Investing in memecoins like $WATER carries significant risks, as their rapid price fluctuations often lack a clear connection to underlying asset utility, if any exists. Despite criticisms within the crypto community about their impact and regulatory scrutiny, some argue meme coins serve as market sentiment indicators and can foster vibrant communities.

 

Bitcoin And The Environment

Blockchain technology offers potential for environmental applications, including transparent crowd-sourcing and verification. Initiatives like Samsung using blockchain to track reforestation efforts in Madagascar highlight its role in environmental protection.

Moreover, the environmental impact of Bitcoin has prompted discussions on sustainable mining practices, such as using renewable energy sources like geothermal and solar power. One of the most notable examples of this is El Salvador using geothermal energy to mine Bitcoin, a move which many have since applauded.

 

July 09,2024

Controversy Magnet Andrew Tate Lambasts Crypto Industry

Andrew Tate, a controversial figure facing serious legal challenges including accusations of human trafficking and other crimes, has embarked on a mission to fix the cryptocurrency industry. In a sprawling three-hour conversation with crypto influencer Michael Jerome, Tate outlined his vision to overhaul crypto, enabling individuals to profit via genuine contributions and hard work rather than fleeting speculative gains.

 

Need To Build Sustainable Wealth

Initially hesitant to delve into crypto during the interview, Tate revealed his longstanding involvement in the space, expressing a deep appreciation for crypto both as an asset and a utility. He emphasized the practical advantages of using crypto for transactions, particularly highlighting its convenience compared to traditional banking systems.

However, Tate did not mince words when critiquing what he described as the immature and profit-driven degen culture pervasive in crypto communities. He criticized the focus on quick riches, arguing that sustainable wealth in the real world requires perseverance and adaptability.

In contrast to the wave of celebrity-backed meme coins that dominate headlines, Tate positioned himself as a different kind of influencer, one focused on substantive impact rather than fleeting attention. He pointed to his recent involvement in promoting a meme coin called $DADDY on the Solana blockchain, which quickly gained traction despite allegations of insider trading.

 

Looking Ahead

Promising to unveil his comprehensive plan through an upcoming video, Tate aims to bring legitimacy and meaningful gains to the crypto space. His ambition extends beyond personal gain, as he advocates for using profits to build sustainable businesses that contribute positively to society, criticizing the rampant speculation that he believes harms investors seeking genuine returns.

This critique also extended to Bitcoin enthusiasts, whom he urged to channel their enthusiasm into more productive pursuits like physical fitness or entrepreneurial ventures, rather than fixating solely on speculative trading.

Throughout the conversation, Tate kept emphasizing that the crypto industry needs reform to prioritize substance over hype, and genuine contributions over quick profits. As he navigates legal challenges and pursues his ambitious crypto agenda, Andrew Tate remains a polarizing figure intent on reshaping an industry he believes has lost its way.

 

July 08,2024

Unfair Crypto Transactions Will Be Probed By South Korean Regulators

South Korean financial regulators are set to launch thorough investigations into what they term as unfair crypto transactions. According to reports by Daehan Kyungjae, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) announced on July 7th the establishment of a new investigation system, slated to commence operations on July 19th. This coincides with the enforcement date of the Virtual Asset User Protection Act.

 

Cooperation Is Key

The FSC, in collaboration with the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), has prepared for the new regulations by forming a specialized entity to probe unfair virtual asset transactions. These transactions involve activities such as trading based on undisclosed information and price manipulation.

Additionally, regulators will scrutinize entities suspected of trading self-issued coins for personal gain. They will gather data by crypto exchanges and utilize a new reporting center by the FSS. The FSC emphasized its intention to work closely with international counterparts and foreign exchanges to investigate suspicious cross-border transactions, hacking incidents, and anonymous dealings.

 

Fairness And Transparency

The regulatory measures aim to bolster investor protection under the upcoming digital-asset law. Offenders found guilty of unfair trading practices could face fines, warnings, and in severe cases, imprisonment ranging between one year to potentially life sentences. The FSC plans to enforce these measures rigorously, emphasizing the establishment of a fair and transparent trading environment in the virtual assets market.

Establishing a fair and transparent trading environment in the digital assets market is crucial to ensure investor confidence, mitigate risks of market manipulation and fraud, and foster sustainable growth of the digital asset industry. It enhances regulatory oversight, protects consumer interests, and supports broader economic stability.

 

July 08,2024

Karma Hits Pink Drainer Through Address Poisoning Scam

Pink Drainer, a notorious group known for draining wallets, recently fell victim to an address poisoning scam, according to crypto compliance platform MistTrack. The hacking group lost 10 ETH, valued at approximately $30,000, to a fraudulent wallet address in late June.

 

Fake Addresses

Address poisoning occurs when scammers send small amounts of cryptocurrency via a similar-looking address to a legitimate wallet. MistTrack explained that scammers create addresses with a few characters altered to resemble the address of the target, hoping they will mistakenly send funds to the fake address.

MistTrack highlighted that scammers use bots to monitor transactions and capitalize on victims copying the scam address instead of the address of their intended recipient. In this case, Pink Drainer mistakenly sent 10 ETH to a wallet address that closely resembled its legitimate address, resulting in the loss.

 

A Recurring Issue

Pink Drainer had recently announced its retirement after allegedly helping to steal over $85 million in crypto assets since July 2023. Despite its cessation, other similar services like Angel Drainer and Venom Drainer continue to facilitate crypto theft activities.

Crypto addresses themselves are difficult to hack directly due to their cryptographic nature, but users can fall victim to scams or phishing attacks that trick them into sending funds to fraudulent addresses. These scams often exploit human error or vulnerabilities in wallet software rather than directly hacking the addresses themselves. Therefore, while the addresses themselves are secure, users must remain vigilant to avoid falling prey to scams and social engineering tactics.

 

July 08,2024

Web3 Fundraising Deals - 2nd July To 8th July, 2024

Questflow secured $1.50M to accelerate its innovative solutions. Questflow is a decentralized AI agentic workflow network designed to orchestrate multi-agents to take action autonomously. It enables users to manage multiple AI agents, create AI agentic workflows, and distribute real-world incentives to the creators of these AI agents.

 

 

Xoob (ex LaunchJoy) raised $1.60M with support by Chromia, signaling strong investor confidence. XOOB is set to become a central hub for gamers and creators, offering a robust platform that combines quests, NFT mystery box sales, mini-games and unique monetization functions.

 

 

Monad Pad (MPAD) raised $945K with backing by CMS Holdings, LLC. Monad Pad aims to build an inclusive platform that supports founders, investors, and collectors in the world of digital assets and DeFi.

 

 

Swords & Dungeons secured $5M by OKX Ventures, setting the stage for further expansion. Swords & Dungeons is a P2E DeFi MMORPG that offers high playability by merging traditional game systems such as PvE, PvP, and GvG with P2E game modes suited for Web3.

 

 

FreeBnk (FRBK) successfully raised $3M with support by LVT Capital - Blockchain Advisory & Capital, highlighting its growth trajectory. FreeBNK is a comprehensive blockchain-based financial ecosystem designed to transform the way users manage their finances and assets.

 

 

Plaza Finance received an undisclosed amount in Pre-Seed funding, emphasizing its potential in the fintech sector. Plaza Finance is a cross-ecosystem hub for programmable derivatives, focused on delivering better financial products for everyone.

 

 

Compute Labs secured $3M in Pre-Seed funding with help by Protocol Labs to further fuel its tech-driven initiatives. Compute Labs leverages its self-developed Compute Tokenization Protocol to financialize AI, enable direct exposure to compute assets, and create compute derivates.

 

 

Onaji closed a $2.50M Pre-Seed round with support by STRATOS Technologies, gearing up for future advancements. Onaji is a machine learning infrastructure designed for blockchain asset market intelligence.

 

 

Pac Finance secured $1M in undisclosed funding with support by Mapleblock Capital, aimed at enhancing its financial services. Pac Finance is a DeFi hub on the Blast network, focusing on non-custodial and permissionless financial services, including lending, swapping, and staking.