Visa, Mastercard Won’t Issue Their Own Cryptocurrencies

Key Takeaways

  • Mastercard and Visa have taken positive stances on blockchain and are working to provide access to crypto
  • Patents and partnerships raise the possibility that either company might launch their own cryptocurrency, but it’s unlikely

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Visa and Mastercard both made key announcements regarding their stance on digital assets and cryptocurrencies this week.

Visa has reaffirmed its relationships with cryptocurrency companies such as Coinbase, Fold, and Anchorage. Meanwhile, Mastercard says that it will expand its range of crypto card partnerships, beginning with the payments company Wirex.

The pro-crypto stance of each company raises an important question: whether either firm will move beyond simple partnerships and introduce its own cryptocurrency.

Visa, Mastercard Patents Suggest Crypto Projects

Both companies seem to be considering blockchain technology, at least in theory. Mastercard has filed over 80 blockchain patents, while Visa has filed over 24 blockchain patents.

Visa, for example, has filed a patent for a digital currency that could rely on Ethereum. Mastercard, meanwhile, has filed a patent that could be used to create new permissioned blockchains with support for multiple currencies. However, on closer inspection, those patents typically describe ways in which the companies could handle cryptocurrencies or make use of blockchain technology. They do not suggest that Mastercard or Visa are planning to issue a Bitcoin-like cryptocurrency.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee those patents will be put into practice; Mastercard and Visa simply control the intellectual property for the…

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