A trio of Thailand and Australia-based digital asset firms will issue cards that let consumers spend their crypto at the cash register.
Mastercard has announced plans to launch a trio of cryptocurrency-linked payments cards in the Asia-Pacific region.
The cards will be issued by Thailand-based Amber Group and Bitkub, and CoinJar in Australia.
"For the first time, consumers and businesses in the Asia-Pacific region will be able to apply for crypto-linked Mastercard credit, debit or prepaid cards that will enable them to instantly convert their cryptocurrencies into traditional fiat currency, which can be spent everywhere Mastercard is accepted around the world."
The cards are part of Mastercard's new global Crypto Card Program, which aims to lower "barriers to entry" by making it easier and faster for crypto companies to offer secure and compliant payment cards that let consumers use their cryptocurrency holdings to make payments directly at merchants.
Like most of the growing number of crypto-backed cards, Mastercard's program instantly converts cardholders' cryptocurrency to the local fiat currency when a payment is made to a merchant.
Jirayut Srupsrisopa, founder and group CEO of Bitkub, said:
"Thailand is one of the most crypto-oriented markets in Asia-Pacific, and so turning that broad asset ownership into something which is usable in an everyday context is a major step forward for Bitkub and our customers. I believe that our strong partnership will accelerate consumers' use of crypto as a means of commerce, making payments more efficient and facilitating new economic activity for businesses worldwide."
Crypto Choice Growing
Noting that interest in and attention to cryptocurrencies is growing rapidly around the world, Rama Sridhar, Mastercard's executive vice president, Digital & Emerging Partnerships and New Payment Flows for the Asia-Pacific region, said:
"In collaboration with these partners that adhere to the same core principles that Mastercard does — that any digital currency must offer stability, regulatory compliance and consumer protection — Mastercard is expanding what's possible with cryptocurrencies to give people even greater choice and flexibility in how they pay."