[eMarketer] Mastercard launches crypto cards in Asia to tap into demand for digital currencies
Mastercard has partnered with cryptocurrency finserv platforms Amber Group, Bitkub, and CoinJar to launch crypto payment cards in Asia-Pacific.
The cards will convert digital tokens into fiat currency that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. The initiative is part of Mastercard’s global crypto card program, which seeks to support native digital currencies as payment tools.
The total market value for crypto assets hit $3 trillion, roughly quadrupling from the end of 2020, per Bloomberg—indicating growing demand for digital currencies.
eMarketer posits that issuers are looking to capitalize on these assets: Major financial institutions—like JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, and Capital One—increased crypto talent hiring by 40% in the first half of 2021 compared with the same period last year, per LinkedIn data. Facilitating crypto payments may therefore be an attempt to keep issuers tied to Mastercard’s network as they start thinking about offering crypto services.
Forty-five percent of consumers in Asia-Pacific plan to use cryptos in the next year, according to Mastercard’s New Payment Index.
Younger consumers show particular interest in digital currencies: 71% said they are more open to using cryptos than they were a year ago. Introducing payment cards can help Mastercard better serve customers in the region—and increase its payments volume—especially among millennials who are entering their high-earning years and are more likely to spend using cryptos.