As digital currencies continue to grow, companies revolving around these assets are too. To help engage these companies, Mastercard has announced a new Start Path programme, dedicated to supporting fast-growing digital assets, blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses. As a continuation of Mastercard’s digital assets work, seven startups have joined the program, including Singapore-based Mintable and STACS, GK8, Domain Money, SupraOracles, Taurus and Uphold which, together with Mastercard, seek to expand and accelerate innovation around digital asset technology and make it safer and easier for people and institutions to buy, spend and hold cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
Among the new programme participants is Mintable (Singapore), a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace where users can create, buy and sell digital and physical assets backed by the blockchain such as digital collectibles, avant-garde artwork and even music. The Mintable platform is packed with novel features such as gasless minting and credit card purchasing that are designed to empower the everyday person to get involved with NFTs without any prior knowledge in crypto or coding. STACS (Singapore) provides a blockchain infrastructure for the financial industry to unlock massive value and enable effective sustainable financing. Its clients and partners include global banks, national stock exchanges, and asset managers.
Sandeep Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Products and Innovation, Asia Pacific, Mastercard, said:
“As a one-stop-shop for all things payments, Mastercard has always worked to give people and businesses more choice in how they pay and get paid. Looking to increase the potential of what our network can deliver in the future, we’ve expanded these options to include cryptocurrency, distributed ledger and digital assets, gradually building one of the payments industry’s biggest blockchain patent portfolios which spans Mastercard’s entire business ecosystem. But we cannot do it alone.
“That’s why Mastercard is constantly looking at how we can set the stage for new players – like this incredible cohort of crypto startups – to join us. Through this new Start Path Crypto program, we will partner with the world’s most promising startups to co-create and build new products that address a host of unique industry needs while providing these young companies with Mastercard’s decades of expertise and global network to help them scale and grow quickly. It’s a two-way street.”
With 45% of consumers in the Asia Pacific region saying that they are likely to consider using cryptocurrency this year – a huge jump over the 12% that already used it last year – this announcement comes at a when time enthusiasm for a broader range of payment technologies has accelerated in the Asia Pacific region as a result of the pandemic. What’s more, consumers are increasingly showing interest in being able to spend crypto assets for everyday purchases, according to recent findings from the Mastercard New Payments Index.
Other participating startups and fast-growing digital asset and blockchain companies that have been selected to join the inaugural track of the Start Path program include:
- GK8 (Israel) is a self-managed end-to-end institutional crypto custody platform that offers a true air-gapped cold vault. This means that the platform is capable of creating, signing and sending secure blockchain transactions without receiving input from the internet, eliminating any potential cyberattack vectors.
- Domain Money (USA) looks to build a next generation investment platform, bridging the gap between digital assets and traditional finance for retail investors.
- Uphold (USA) is a crypto-native, multi-asset digital money platform offering investment and payment services to consumers and businesses worldwide. Uphold’s unique ‘Anything- to-Anything’ trading experience enables customers to trade directly between asset classes with embedded payments facilitating a future where everyone has access to financial services.
- SupraOracles (Switzerland) is a powerful blockchain oracle that helps businesses bridge real-world data to both public and private chains, enabling interoperable smart contracts to automate, simplify and secure the future of financial markets.
- Taurus (Switzerland) delivers enterprise-grade infrastructure to manage any digital asset with one single platform, including crypto assets, digital currencies and tokenised assets covering issuance, custody, asset servicing and trading.
Founders of the digital asset and blockchain companies participating in the new Start Path program aim to address a host of pain points including asset tokenisation, data accuracy, digital security and seamless access between the traditional and digital economy.
Jess Turner, Executive Vice President of New Digital Infrastructure and Fintech, Mastercard, commented: “Mastercard has been engaging with the digital currency ecosystem since 2015. As a leading technology player, we believe we can play a key role in digital assets, helping to shape the industry, and provide consumer protections and security. Part of our role is to forge the future of cryptocurrency, and we’re doing that by bridging mainstream financial principles with digital assets innovations.”
Digital Assets and Fintech Innovation
Supporting the startup ecosystem is a core part of Mastercard’s ethos, and more than 250 startups have participated in the Start Path program since 2014. With the expansion of Start Path to include fast-growing crypto, blockchain and digital assets startups, Mastercard is providing access to its latest tools and solutions to help these companies scale their innovations and cutting-edge technologies. These startups use the program to connect with our ecosystem of banks, merchants, partners and digital players across the globe to deliver new solutions.