Customers will soon be able to pay for goods in high street businesses using cryptocurrencies thanks to a partnership between Mastercard and Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.
The CEO of the payments firm stated that the company was collaborating with Binance to enable users to utilize their cryptocurrency holdings in the more than 90 million merchant locations that accept Mastercard. Argentina will be the starting point for the roll-out, with intentions to expand from there.
Mastercard CEOMichael Miebach wrote in a LinkedIn post: “We can unlock the full potential of blockchain technology when we make it easier to access + easier to use. One way we do that is by bringing crypto to everyday purchases.”
Binance, which was founded by Canadian-Chinese billionaire Changpeng Zhao, was put under investigation by US authorities last year amid accusations of money laundering.
The exchange has faced hostilities from some countries like the UK and is not allowed to engage in regulated activities, therefore it might take some time before British stores start using its technology according to the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA does not, however, control the purchasing and selling of digital assets like Bitcoin and Ether.
The decision from Mastercard comes after El Salvador became the first nation in the world to recognize bitcoin as legal tender in September 2021, defying requests from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stop accepting the cryptocurrency or risk losing access to IMF funds.
The decision allows corporations to accept bitcoin as a form of payment, which many small business owners have been reluctant to do because of the cryptocurrency’s volatile price moves.
Mastercard says it does not settle payments to merchants in cryptocurrency at this time. Instead, the purchase is made using the payment’s conversion to fiat money.