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The Future of Payments Part1:

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

What Have Mastercard, Visa, American Express and PayPal Been Up to, in Web3 & Blockchain, to Drive Adoption

Written by Osnat Ben-Nesher Zaretsky, Co-fouder and CEO, alsomine 31 Aug 2023


As the founder of alsomine, a blockchain-based gift cards e-commerce platform, I’ve been closely following all new (and exciting) developments coming from top global payments players. Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and PayPal have all dove into blockchain based products, some tackling blockchain-based payments infrastructures and others merchant trust. Nothings, however, excites me more than consumer facing big scale initiatives.


With Paypal’s most recent announcement of PayPal USD Stablecoin (PYUSD), we’re very excited to see how we can translate all this goodness into better frictionless experiences for our customers, business and private alike. Here’s a short summary of some of the most interesting initiatives from the last two years, links to sources included, of course.


MASTERCARD: PIONEERING NFTS AND CRYPTO ACCESSIBILITY

Mastercard: With their extensive partnerships with NFT marketplaces and focus on making NFTs and crypto more accessible, Mastercard is showing strong leadership in connecting traditional finance with emerging blockchain technologies.

  • Partnerships with NFT Marketplaces: Collaborations with ImmutableX and Mintable, launched in 2022, are driving ecommerce and loyalty among collectors (source).

  • Enabling Mastercard for NFT Purchases: Announced in 2022, this initiative makes NFTs more accessible to 2.9 billion cardholders worldwide (source).

  • Integration with Coinbase: Working with Coinbase’s NFT marketplace, launched in 2022, to enhance crypto accessibility (source).

  • Web3 User Verification: Launched a secure user verification solution for Web3 transactions (source).

  • Crypto for Cross-Border: Introduced a service for cross-border crypto transfers, discussed at Consensus 2023 (source).

  • Artist Spotlight Program: Announced a Web3 program to launch emerging musical artists using the Polygon blockchain (source).

VISA: BRIDGING CRYPTO AND TRADITIONAL PAYMENTS

Visa’s comprehensive approach to integrating crypto into traditional payment systems, including crypto wallet partnerships and stablecoin payouts, demonstrates a robust commitment to fostering e-commerce and loyalty. Their blockchain commercial strategy resonates with alsomine’s mission and makes them a strong contender in leading the charge.

  • Crypto Wallet Partnerships: Collaborating with over 65 crypto wallet providers since 2022, connecting blockchain networks to their global payment network, fostering ecommerce (source).

  • Digital Currency Settlement: Developing native digital currency settlement on card networks, announced in 2021 (source).

  • Crypto-Linked Cards: Enabling crypto holders to pay with Visa at over 100 million merchants worldwide since 2022, enhancing loyalty (source).

  • Stablecoin Payouts: Enabling USDC payouts since 2022, providing more ways for sellers to get paid (source).

  • NFT Support: Launching programs in 2022 to help creators navigate NFTs, supporting the creator economy (source).

  • CBDCs: In May 2023, Visa partnered on a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) project in Brazil, aiming to enable secure blockchain-based transactions for farmers (source).

  • Visa Everywhere Initiative: This global competition aims to showcase innovative fintech startups, including those in the Web3 space. The 2023 competition will be hosted at the TechCrunch Disrupt event (Visa Everywhere Initiative 2023).

AMERICAN EXPRESS: INNOVATING IN WEB3 AND DIGITAL PAYMENTS

American Express’s exploration of web3, digital payments, and innovation in NFTs reflects a forward-thinking approach. Their focus on frictionless digital payments and unique blockchain solutions aligns with alsomine’s vision but may not be as comprehensive as other players in the field.

  • Restoring Trust in Crypto: Working to restore faith in crypto markets through transparency initiatives launched in 2023 (source).

  • Web3 Traction: Predicting the emergence of web3 players in 2023, offering personal data control and ownership (source).

  • Frictionless Digital Payments: Focusing on real-time payments, BNPL options, and AI-enhanced credit and fraud decisioning since 2022, driving ecommerce (source).

  • Investments in Blockchain Startups: Investing in blockchain-related startups since 2022, focusing on innovation (source).

  • Innovation in NFTs: Hosting digital concerts and selling NFTs in 2022, fostering loyalty among users (source).

PAYPAL: CONNECTING FIAT AND WEB3

PayPal’s initiatives in web3 and blockchain show a strong commitment to bridging fiat and digital currencies. Their focus on fast transfers and e-commerce aligns with alsomine’s gift cards focus, but is more specialized compared to Mastercard and Visa.

  • PYUSD Launch: Introduced in 2023, PYUSD aims to streamline web3 payments and improve UI/UX (Forbes).

  • Venmo Integration: Upcoming integration exposes PayPal’s 435M active accounts to stablecoins and Web3 (Forbes).

  • MetaMask Integration: Launched in Dec 2022, this enables Web3 blockchain payments (Fortune).

  • Fast Transfers: Enabled since 2023 to foster ecommerce (TechCrunch).

  • Education: Ongoing efforts since 2022 to enhance digital currency comprehension and loyalty (source).

CONCLUSION

The future of payments is being redefined by the innovative efforts of Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and PayPal. Their investments in web3, blockchain, crypto payments, and NFTs are not only enhancing ecommerce but also fostering loyalty among users. By embracing these technologies, they are contributing to the global acceptance and growth of digital assets.


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