Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Mastercard debuts enhanced blockchain payments program for emerging startups

The five startups will explore innovative ways for people and businesses to move value and solve real-world problems using blockchain technology.

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: May 16, 2024 05:21:05 PM IST
Updated: May 16, 2024 11:53:09 AM IST

Mastercard debuts enhanced blockchain payments program for emerging startupsImage: Shutterstock

On May 15, Mastercard introduced a new cohort of startups to its Start Path Blockchain and Digital Assets program, aiming to drive innovation in blockchain technology and digital payments. This accelerator focuses on scaling innovative solutions with global startups. This initiative focuses on integrating blockchain's transparency and efficiency into mainstream financial services, enhancing how businesses and individuals transact.

As per Mastercard, "Each currency format – from regulated money to bank deposits, to stablecoins and CBDCs – serves a specific purpose, and Mastercard is connecting with industry experts and fintechs to explore differentiated use cases that can help to solve real-world problems."

According to a Mastercard press release, only "high-potential blockchain, digital assets, and Web3 startups" are considered for the Start Path program. Selected firms gain access to collaboration opportunities, customised training, and Mastercard's customers and channels over a four-month period.

Start Path, launched in 2014, has supported over 400 startups in 54 countries. Through initiatives like this, Mastercard has positioned itself as a leader in the fintech and blockchain payments industry.

Participating Startups and Innovations:

Kulipa (France): Specializes in next-gen crypto payment card issuing for digital wallets. 

Parfin (UK): Develop enterprise-grade software for financial institutions to adopt blockchain rails.

peaq (Singapore): Provides decentralised digital infrastructure for real-world applications involving vehicles, machines, and devices.

Triangle (USA): Combines climate data with finance to prioritise sustainability.

Venly (Belgium): Simplifies blockchain integration for developers and businesses

The four-month virtual program offers startups collaboration opportunities, bespoke training, and access to Mastercard’s extensive network of customers and channels. This initiative supports high-potential startups in scaling their innovations and promotes blockchain adoption and digital asset transformation.

Mastercard aims to harness blockchain's potential to transform financial services, creating efficient and secure payment solutions. By bridging traditional finance with decentralised finance, Mastercard positions itself at the forefront of digital assets evolution, fostering an inclusive and transparent financial ecosystem.

On May 8, Mastercard announced an alliance with central U.S. banks, including Citigroup, Visa, and JP Morgan, to test distributed ledger technology for banking settlements using tokenisation. In April, Mastercard and 1inch introduced a debit card that bridges cryptocurrency to fiat, enabling users to make cash withdrawals and point-of-sale payments at locations where debit cards are accepted.

Shashank is the founder of yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash