Mastercard Acquires Cryptocurrency Intelligence Company CipherTrace

Over the past few years, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have steadily become more mainstream. At the same time, they’ve also faced criticism and regulatory scrutiny. Now, in a bid to make digital currencies safer and more trusted for all, Mastercard has acquired the firm CipherTrace for an undisclosed amount.

CipherTrace is a crypto intelligence solution that boasts insight into more than 900 cryptocurrency assets. Its tools include anti-money laundering and other crypto compliance solutions. With the acquisition, Mastercard is hoping to bring greater transparency and trust to the digital asset world as more brands and institutions embrace such technology.

Mastercard’s purchase of CipherTrace continues the company’s streak of acquisitions. Last year, the firm announced a plan to acquire Finicity for $825 million (with an additional $160 million earn-out opportunity for Finicity shareholders). More recently, the company revealed that it was buying identity verification platform Ekata for $850 million and, just last week, announced that European bank connection API Aiia was also joining the Mastercard family.

Commenting on the acquisition, Mastercard’s president of Cyber & Intelligence Ajay Bhalla stated, “Digital assets have the potential to reimagine commerce, from everyday acts like paying and getting paid to transforming economies, making them more inclusive and efficient. With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe.” Bhalla added, “Our aim is to build upon the complementary capabilities of Mastercard and CipherTrace to do just this.”

On joining forces with Mastercard, CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans said, “We help companies – whether they are banks or cryptocurrency exchanges, government regulators or law enforcement to keep the crypto economy safe. Our two companies share this vision to provide security and trust throughout the ecosystem. We are thrilled to join the Mastercard family to scale CipherTrace’s reach across the globe.”

Of course, Mastercard isn’t the only payments network that’s taken a growing interest in crypto and adjacent technologies. Earlier this summer, Visa revealed that $1 billion in goods and services had been paid for using crypto-linked cards on its network. On that note, Visa has also been a partner in several early crypto rewards credit and debit card offerings, such as the BlockFi Rewards Visa.

Ultimately, Mastercard’s acquisition of CipherTrace is significant in a few different ways. First, it will make it easier for the company to integrate CipherTrace’s tools into its payment network. In turn, it could potentially calm fears from customers who may be on the fence about accepting crypto. Meanwhile, it will likely also mean greater competition for firms like Chainalysis and others as Mastercard’s deep pockets and strong network could help fuel CipherTrace’s growth. In any case, it’s definitely an interesting time for crypto-centric firms as mainstream financial players continue to up their investments in the future of payments.

Also published on Medium.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

Other Articles by Jonathan Dyer

Uber Relaunches UberPool as UberX Share

With demand for travel continuing to rise, the ridesharing app Uber has announced a feature to help both travelers and commuters to get to their destinations while saving money. After previously pausing its UberPool service option during the pandemic, Uber is now rolling out a replacement called UberX Share. At this time, the new option is available to riders in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, San...

Split Payment Platform Kasheesh Launches as Alternative to BNPL

In recent months, "buy now, pay later" (BNPL) platforms have exploded in popularity. What's more, with Apple jumping into the space, the practice is likely to continue growing despite some concerns in regards to how BNPL services impact consumers' personal finances. With that in mind, one FinTech has just revealed its alternative: a payment-splitting platform for online retail. Today, Kasheesh exited stealth mode to announce the launch of its unique...

Credit Karma Money Spend Adds Cashback Offers for Cardholders

Those looking to add some extra cash back into their pocket will soon have a new option. This week, the popular credit monitoring site Credit Karma announced a new feature for its Credit Karma Money customers. Now, debit cardholders will be able to earn cashback when making purchases from select retailers. According to the site, the list of eligible retailers includes national chains, such as Adidas and Shake Shack, as...