Payments giant Mastercard announced it is extending its reach into the realm of cryptocurrency with the acquisition of CipherTrace, a blockchain analytics startup, for “greater security, transparency and trust to digital assets across the ecosystem.”
- CipherTrace, which calls itself the world’s first blockchain forensics team, provides cryptocurrency tracking and investigation services. It launched an open-source program, Travel Rule Information Sharing Architecture (TRISA), which allows virtual asset service providers to share information between parties in transactions, to meet the intergovernmental compliance force FATF’s (Financial Action Task Force) travel rules for cryptocurrencies launched in 2019.
- In February, Mastercard announced it would support certain cryptocurrencies. In April, it announced the launch of its first crypto rewards credit card with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini. In July, Mastercard announced it would expand its cryptocurrency credit card business by partnering with more stablecoin issuers and banks. Visa CFO Vasant Prabhu said in July that crypto-linked card usage tops $1 billion in first half of 2021.
- Meanwhile, Mastercard’s competitors, VISA, PayPal, and American Express, have all developed cryptocurrencies businesses.
- David Jevans, CEO of CipherTrace, in an interview in May with Forkast.News said potential money laundering risks involving cryptocurrency transfers may put financial institutions, such as banks, into trouble.