Mastercard Acquires Crypto Analytics Firm CipherTrace

By September 14, 2021Polkadot
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Crypto Story of the Day
Crypto Story of the Day

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Crypto Story of the Day

Mastercard has announced its acquisition of Menlo Park-based crypto analytics and tracing firm CipherTrace. The deal signals broad ambitions for crypto by Mastercard and that its plans for the space are moving forward.

According to the announcement, “Mastercard will extend its capabilities deep into the field of digital assets with an agreement to acquire CipherTrace, a leading cryptocurrency intelligence company with insight into more than 900 cryptocurrencies.”

Mastercard, which didn’t reveal details of the deal, sees “trust and security” as central to crypto’s broader adoption. According to Ajay Bhalla, President of Cyber and Intelligence at Mastercard, “[w]ith the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe. [The] aim is to build upon the complementary capabilities of Mastercard and CipherTrace to do just this.”

The deal will allow Mastercard to combine both firms’ transaction tracing capabilities to differentiate Mastercard’s card and real-time payments infrastructure, allowing customers “to protect their consumers and comply with regulations, as they build their own virtual asset offerings.”

Mastercard has previously announced a number of initiatives in the crypto space. In February, Mastercard announced plans to “start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on [their] network.” In a broad description of its plans, Mastercard said its crypto efforts would “create a lot more possibilities for shoppers and merchants, allowing them to transact in an entirely new form of payment.”

Mastercard’s crypto projects also include a “pilot program” to “use USDC to facilitate crypto-to-fiat conversions…” that was announced in July. Mastercard also partnered with Gemini to launch the “Gemini Credit Card,” which allows users to “earn up to 3% back in [BTC] or other cryptocurrencies on the dollars you spend.” The product has yet to launch.

CipherTrace was founded in 2015 and has been funded by the U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The firm has also raised a total of USD 45.1 million in private funding via 8 rounds, according to CrunchBase.

Last month, CipherTrace announced the launch of “enhanced Monero tracing visualization tools for qualified government agencies and financial institutions.” The new solution was based on research “funded partially” by the Department of Homeland Security.

Mastercard’s acquisition of CipherTrace was described as “[deepening] the firm’s bet on digital assets” by the Financial Times. To date, Mastercard’s involvement in crypto has been mostly on an experimental level and expressed as future plans. The CipherTrace deal suggests that the firm’s plans for crypto are broad and moving ahead.

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