Mastercard announces expansion of cryptocurrency efforts, inks card deal with Wirex

Mastercard announced Monday an expansive bid for bringing more cryptocurrency and fintech companies into its card-issuance network.

The payments giant said in a press statement that it was unveiling "the expansion of its cryptocurrency program, making it simpler and faster for partners to bring secure, compliant payment cards to market."

"Supercharging the partnership experience, cryptocurrency and crypto card partners are invited to join Mastercard's Accelerate program for emerging brands and fintechs, giving them access to everything they need to grow quickly," the company noted.

Mastercard's Accelerate program is akin to Visa's Fintech Fast Track program, and signals that Mastercard wants to expand its relatively tiny footprint in the crypto space. As noted by The Block and shown by the graph below, the vast majority of payment cards issued by crypto-related companies to date have been within Visa's network.

Mastercard also unveiled an inked deal with Wirex, which as shown above already provides a Visa card in Asia and Europe. 

"The cryptocurrency market continues to mature, and Mastercard is driving it forward, creating safe and secure experiences for consumers and businesses in today's digital economy," Raj Dhamodharan, Mastercard's Executive Vice President for Digital Asset and Blockchain Products and Partnerships. "Our work with Wirex and the wider crypto ecosystem is accelerating innovation and empowering consumers with more choice in the way they pay."