Mastercard Adds Crypto and Blockchain Track to FinTech Incubation Program

Mastercard Adds Crypto and Blockchain Track to FinTech Incubation Program

With payment processing warming up to cryptocurrencies more and more by the day, several companies in the former space have been looking into integrating digital assets into their services.

Mastercard has become the latest to bring out a crypto-focused initiative, with the company announcing support for blockchain and crypto companies in its incubator program.

Touching All Areas of Crypto

Earlier this week, Mastercard announced that it would add blockchain and cryptocurrency track to its Start Path incubator program for companies. In a press release, the New York-based payment processing giant explained that the program looks to support fast-growing companies in the blockchain, crypto, and digital asset space.

Mastercard explained that the cryptocurrency track is part of its efforts to support the startup ecosystem – a mission that it has had since the Start Path program launched in 2014. By expanding to include crypto and blockchain companies, Mastercard hopes to capture more facets of the payment and financial innovation space. Companies in this program will get invaluable tools and expertise from Mastercard, allowing them to scale much faster.

The startups will also leverage the program to connect with Mastercard’s ecosystem of banks, merchants, digital payment companies, and other players in the FinTech space.

As for the crypto track, the major pain points that companies hope to address include data privacy and accuracy, asset tokenization, and integration between the traditional and digital economies. With Mastercard’s help, solving identified challenges is expected to be much easier and faster.

Jess Turner, executive vice president of New Digital Infrastructure and FinTech, explained that Mastercard also hopes to forge the future of cryptocurrency. Theis, they will achieve, by bridging mainstream financial principles with digital asset innovations.

The crypto track already has several members. These include Domain Money, a U.S.-based investment platform for retail investors; SupraOracle, a Swiss blockchain oracle for public and private chains; Mintable, a Singapore-based NFT marketplace; and Uphold, a U.S.-based crypto-native digital money platform for payments and investments.

Crypto Cards for Everyone

Mastercard has been doing tremendous work to improve the ubiquity of cryptocurrencies for a while now. Earlier this month, the company announced plans to tweak its crypto cards program to allow traditional banks and crypto companies to issue crypto credit cards to their customers.

With the initiative, Mastercard will partner with crypto businesses – particularly exchanges and wallet service providers – to make it simpler for their partners to convert cryptocurrencies to fiat. Additional players in the FinTech space to join this program include Circle, Uphold, ButPay, Evolve Bank & Trust, and the Metropolitan Commercial Bank.

Under the program, Mastercard will use its massive payments network to make crypto-fiat conversions more seamless and also offer more choices for people interested in cryptocurrencies.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Incentivized Web3 Data Privacy Project, HOPR, Raises $1 Million Led by Binance Labs

Binance Labs, the incubation venture of Binance exchange, led a seed funding round of $1 million for decentralized privacy-focused HOPR. Apart from Binance Labs, other firms that invested during the seed funding round include Focus Labs, Spark Digital Capital, Caballeros Capital, and Synaitken. BinanceX, an early stage development platform, has also awarded a fellowship to the startup earlier.

HOPR is a privacy centered blockchain startup that incentivizes the data through a token-incentivized mixnet solution.

Gin Chao, Binance’s Strategy officer, said that the team at BinanceX and HOPR have been working on this privacy solution for quite some time now. He said:

“The team from BinanceX met HOPR over a year ago at Paris Blockchain Week, and we have got to know the team. We will be making much fewer investments, and these are the sorts of projects we will be focused on, in areas that we feel have a sort of immediate product-market fit.”

HOPR is also set to become a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) under the law in Switzerland and has the right set of tools to become a pioneer in decentralized privacy management. Chao said:

“I think it’s the right type of problem to be solving at this time, and HOPR’s solution is a great fit in terms of the ethos of blockchain and having an eventual decentralized organization with a token to address the problem.”

HOPR a New Network Layer Protocol For Safe Exchange of Data

Sebastian Bürgel, the co-founder of HOPR, said that their protocol is not another on-chain privacy solution but a network layer protocol similar to Tor, which facilitates a safe exchange of private data. HOPR would incentivize the participants with the native token to enhance the privacy of the network.

In a traditional system, when two systems are communicating with each other, they are confidential to third parties like telcos and internet service providers (ISPs). On the other hand, in the HOPR system, the data moves from one relay node to another, and each receiving node mixes the data with other traffic, and then it is passed on to the next node.

“Anybody can participate and be paid for the service of relaying traffic and thereby creating privacy for you,” said Bürgel. “You are paid in HOPR tokens similar to how miners get paid ETH on Ethereum.”

He further commented on the incentivization of the network participants suggesting right now it’s quite challenging to estimate as the network is decentralized so that the network participants would take the final decision. Burgel said:

“We imagine this is going to be a kind of marketplace. I think it should be comparable to a VPN subscription, which is an order of like $10 a month, so for some reasonable usage, it should be in that range.”

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Author: Hank Klinger