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.