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Mastercard to settle transactions for stablecoin wallet in APAC

Mastercard has entered a collaboration that would allow retail customers in the APAC region to spend their stablecoins anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

Global payment provider Mastercard is launching a stablecoin digital wallet integration with the Australian stablecoin platform Stables.

Mastercard and Stables on March 20 announced a collaboration to allow retail customers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to spend their stablecoins anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

The collaboration involves a stablecoin-only wallet built by Stables, coming with a payment card supported by Mastercard. The payment card enables users to save and spend the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin by converting the digital currency into fiat and settling on Mastercard’s network. The card will be accessible through the Stables digital application via mobile wallets.

Source: Stables

According to Mastercard Australasia’s head of fintech, Kallan Hogan, the company’s collaboration with Stables is a significant development in terms of Web3 adoption.

“Mastercard is committed to powering innovative payment solutions that give cardholders the freedom to spend their assets where, how, and when they want,” Hogan said, adding:

“Stables is building a solution for the Web3 sector leveraging Mastercard’s global network and cyber and intelligence tools, including CipherTrace and Ekata, with trust and security at the core.”

The Mastercard-enabled wallet integration will become available for users in the second quarter of 2023, Stables co-founder and CEO Daniel Li told Cointelegraph. The stablecoin digital Mastercard will be initially available for users based in Australia and is then planned to enter Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and most of Asia Pacific.

The payment solution deploys Stables’ proprietary settlement engine that processes all payments using USDC and works directly with Mastercard to enable settlement, Li stated. At the same time, the wallet will accept deposits in a number of stablecoins, including rival stablecoin Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD), but all the deposits will be automatically converted into USDC at no cost.

Related: Circle taps Cross River as banking partner, expands ties with BNY Mellon

According to Li, Stables is confident in USDC’s future despite the recent issues involving the collapse of Silvergate Bank. The CEO stated:

“Stablecoins will play a pivotal role in the new financial system and will be core to bridging the worlds of traditional and decentralized finance. Stables will continue to work with USDC and Circle as a pivotal part of that ecosystem.”

In addition to crypto, users can also top up their balances using bank transfers, direct debit and other modes of payment, Li said. At launch, Stables supports deposits and withdrawals in the Australian dollar, with soon-to-come integrations including the U.S. dollar, euro, the British pound, as well as currencies frothe APAC, Latin America and Africa.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Mastercard Teams Up With Bybit To Introduce New Crypto-Powered Debit Card

Mastercard Teams Up With Bybit To Introduce New Crypto-Powered Debit Card

Payments giant Mastercard is partnering with cryptocurrency exchange Bybit to launch a debit card capable of making transactions using digital asset holdings. According to the announcement, the debit card will operate over the Mastercard network and customers can use it to make fiat purchases or withdraw cash from ATMs, all debited from their digital asset […]

The post Mastercard Teams Up With Bybit To Introduce New Crypto-Powered Debit Card appeared first on The Daily Hodl.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Bybit introduces Mastercard-powered debit card days after halting USD transfers

Bybit is set to roll out Mastercard-powered debit cards, allowing users to pay for goods and services with cryptocurrency holdings.

Bybit is set to launch a new debit card offering that will allow users to make payments and withdraw cash using cryptocurrency holdings.

The Bybit Card will operate on the Mastercard network and will allow for fiat-based transactions by debiting cryptocurrency balances when used to pay for goods and services. The service begins with the launch of a free virtual card for online purchases, while physical debit cards are set to be available in April 2023.

The service will work with Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC) and Ripple (XRP) balances on user accounts. Payments will automatically convert the balances of these initial cryptocurrencies into euros or pounds, depending on a user’s country of residence.

ATM withdrawals and global payments will be limited to aggregated cryptocurrency holdings of a user’s Bybit account. The cards are issued by London-based payments solutions provider Moorwand.

The roll-out of Bybit’s virtual and physical debit card offering comes days after the Dubai-based exchange announced that it would be halting U.S. dollar bank transfers. The suspension of dollar deposits and withdrawals was pinned on ‘service outages’ by one of its processing partners.

Bybit users can continue to make USD deposits using Advcash Wallet or with credit cards, while users were urged to carry out any pending U.S. dollar wire withdrawals by March 10.

Related: Credit cards can bridge Web2 to Web3, says music industry exec

United States-based crypto exchanges and businesses were affected when Silvergate Bank announced the discontinuation of its digital assets payment network on March 4.

Meanwhile a report at the end of February 2023 suggests that both Mastercard and Visa would hold off on announcing or embarking on further direct partnerships with the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.

Mastercard has been exploring payment options in USDC through new partnerships while Visa has hinted at plans to allow customers to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat on its platform in 2023.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Crypto Biz: Did crypto winter scare off Visa and Mastercard?

Visa's head of crypto has pushed back against the notion that the credit card giant is getting cold feet because of the bear market.

Crypto cycles aren’t for the faint-hearted. As the industry continues to evolve from the cypherpunks into the mainstream, we can expect a lot of growing pains. The dumpster fire that was 2022 may have scared off many companies interested in exploring the sector. Case in point: Visa and Mastercard’s embrace of crypto may have hit a snag thanks to the bear market and unclear regulations.

According to a new report by Reuters, the credit card giants are halting the launch of certain crypto products until market conditions and the regulatory environment improve. Cuy Sheffield, who heads Visa’s crypto division, wasn’t pleased with the report, reassuring the market that Visa is very much committed to seeing through its crypto ambitions.

This week’s Crypto Biz explores the latest reports around Visa and Mastercard, Jack Dorsey’s decentralized Twitter alternative, and Goldman Sachs’ apparent need for more digital asset professionals.

Breaking: Visa and Mastercard halt new crypto partnerships — Report

Credit card giants Visa and Mastercard will delay the launch of new crypto partnerships due to the bear market and murky regulatory conditions, according to a Feb. 28 report by Reuters. The companies are hesitant to launch new crypto partnerships following high-profile bankruptcies in the sector, like FTX, BlockFi, Celsius, Voyager, Genesis etc. “Recent high-profile failures in the crypto sector are an important reminder that we have a long way to go before crypto becomes a part of mainstream payments and financial services,” a Visa spokesperson said. However, Visa’s crypto head later clarified that the company continues to “partner with crypto companies to improve fiat on and off-ramps.”

Jack Dorsey’s decentralized Twitter rival enters app store

Jack Dorsey is embracing decentralized social networks with the private beta launch of Bluesky — a so-called decentralized Twitter alternative. Bluesky hit Apple’s app store as an invite-only app, allowing key persons to try out the new platform. An early peek at Bluesky reveals an interface that very much resembles Twitter. The major difference between the two is that Bluesky claims to be “decentralized,” which means it operates on independently run servers rather than centralized servers controlled by a single entity. It’s not entirely clear if Bluesky will have Bitcoin (BTC) integration, something Dorsey feels very strongly about. In June 2022, Cointelegraph reported that Dorsey was building “Web5” powered by Bitcoin.

Goldman Sachs still open to crypto hires amid massive 3,200 staff cut

Watch what they do, not what they say. Amid continued layoffs in the digital asset sector, multinational investment bank Goldman Sachs has not closed the door on hiring more crypto professionals. According to Goldman’s digital asset lead Matthew McDermott, the bank remains “hugely positive” on exploring blockchain applications, which may require more hires. Goldman Sachs’ digital asset unit currently has 70 people and likely won’t be affected by the bank’s job cuts. It feels like only yesterday that Goldman Sachs was hyper-critical of crypto. Now, it’s fully embracing the sector and its innovative potential.

Coinbase CEO reiterates that ‘staking’ products aren’t securities

Last week, Crypto Biz told you that Coinbase has a lot at stake. This week, CEO Brian Armstrong reiterated that Coinbase’s staking products do not constitute securities and should not fall under the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement action. “[We] really just are providing a service that passes through those coins to help them participate in staking, which is a decentralized protocol,” he said, referring to the exchange’s staking products. The SEC has already thrown the book at crypto exchange Kraken for its staking services. Will the regulator buy Coinbase’s argument? Only time will tell.

Before you go: Is Binance in trouble?

It’s hard to get positive mainstream coverage of crypto these days. This week, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao responded to a scathing article about his exchange’s business practices. Meanwhile, the Solana network experienced yet another outage. This week’s Market Report breaks down the FUD around Binance, and discusses what’s potentially in store for Solana. You can watch the full replay below:

Crypto Biz is your weekly pulse of the business behind blockchain and crypto, delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Ethereum price resistance at $1,750 could reflect traders’ anxiety over the Shanghai upgrade

Holding gains above $1,750 remains a challenge for ETH, but derivatives data shows traders believe future downside moves will be limited to the most immediate price support.

The price of Ether (ETH) declined 9.8% between Feb. 19 and Feb. 25 after the price resistance at $1,725 proved stronger than expected. Still, the correction was insufficient to break the 6-week-long ascending channel and did not cause Ether derivatives metrics to turn bearish.

Ether (ETH) price index in USD, 1-day. Source: TradingView

Ether's price resilience can be partially explained by the operational failure of some of its smart contract blockchain competitors. For instance, Solana (SOL) faced a 20-hour-long outage on Feb. 25, which was only resolved after a network upgrade coordinated by validators. The network restart also involved purging some of the latest slots, although Solana developers said that "no confirmed user transactions were rolled back or impacted."

NEM (XEM) experienced a "chain halt" on Feb. 27 that lasted for 15 hours, causing multiple exchanges to halt deposits and withdrawals and developers promised to release an update to prevent further misbehavior. Curiously, the latest post from the official NEM account on Twitter, excluding a Merry Christmas greeting, was a "Please Stand By" image posted in July 2022.

The regulatory environment remains shady for cryptocurrencies, and the latest victims were global payment processing companies Visa and Mastercard. According to a Reuters report published on Feb. 28, the firms are delaying the launch of new partnerships with crypto firms until market conditions improve and a more transparent regulatory framework is established.

In more positive news, Ethereum's Sepolia testnet was successfully hard forked on Feb. 28 in preparation for the Shanghai upgrade. The much-anticipated mainnet update expected for March should finally allow validators to withdraw their staked Ether from the Beacon Chain. Developers are now prepping the Goerli testnet to enter a similar stage.

Let's look at Ether derivatives data to understand if the $1,560 support retest on Feb. 25 has impacted crypto investors' sentiment.

ETH futures show increased demand for leverage longs

The annualized two-month futures premium should trade between 5% and 10% in healthy markets to cover costs and associated risks. However, when the contract trades at a discount (backwardation) versus traditional spot markets, it shows a lack of confidence from traders and is deemed a bearish indicator.

Ether 2-month futures annualized premium. Source: Laevitas.ch

The chart above shows that derivatives traders became slightly bullish as the Ether futures premium (on average) flirted with the 5% threshold on Feb. 26. More importantly, it shows resilience even as Ether price declined by nearly 10% between Feb. 19 and Feb. 25.

The increased demand for leverage longs (bulls) does not necessarily translate to an expectation of positive price action. Consequently, traders should analyze Ether's options markets to understand how whales and market makers are pricing the odds of future price movements.

Options risk metrics show resilience despite a 10% price slide

The 25% delta skew is a telling sign when market makers and arbitrage desks are overcharging for upside or downside protection.

In bear markets, options investors give higher odds for a price dump, causing the skew indicator to rise above 10%. On the other hand, bullish markets tend to drive the skew metric below -10%, meaning the bearish put options are in less demand.

Related: Vitalik Buterin says 'more still needs to be done' over high Ethereum txn fees

Ether 60-day options 25% delta skew: Source: Laevitas.ch

The delta skew flirted with the bearish 9% level on Feb. 27, signaling stress from professional traders. However, the situation improved on Feb. 28 as the index moved to 5 — indicating a similar upside and downside risk appetite.

It makes sense for fundamental analysts to avoid adding bullish positions ahead of the Shanghai upgrade, especially since Ethereum developers have a history of delaying significant network changes.

Despite the range of concerning factors, options and futures markets signal that pro traders are conservatively bullish and trust that the ascending pattern will hold. From a technical analysis standpoint, investors appear to believe that the bullish trend will continue unless Ether breaks below the channel support at $1,520.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Report Claims Visa and Mastercard Plan to Pause New Partnerships, Visa’s Head of Crypto Insists ‘Story Is Inaccurate’

Report Claims Visa and Mastercard Plan to Pause New Partnerships, Visa’s Head of Crypto Insists ‘Story Is Inaccurate’According to a recent report from sources familiar with the matter, Mastercard and Visa, the credit card and payment services giants, are halting new partnerships with cryptocurrency firms. This news comes after the collapse of several cryptocurrency ventures that offered crypto debit cards and failed due to financial difficulties last year. After the report published, […]

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Crypto Biz: Coinbase has a lot at stake

Coinbase says its staking product offerings are different than Kraken's, which came under SEC scrutiny and resulted in a $30 million fine.

Crypto assets made their way onto the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s list of priorities for 2023. So far, though, we haven’t tasted the “regulatory certainty” many have been calling for. Instead, the regulator threw the book at Kraken for allegedly failing to register its staking program. Coinbase appears next on the chopping block, but its lawyers are ready to fight.

This week’s Crypto Biz newsletter delves into Coinbase’s defense of its staking program and its not-too-pleasant quarterly financials. We also look at the latest company to fall victim to Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX.

Coinbase beats Q4 earnings estimates amid falling transaction volume

Q4 was a rough quarter for the cryptocurrency market, and nowhere was this more evident than in Coinbase’s latest earnings report. On Feb. 21, the crypto exchange reported a 12% drop in transaction volumes during the quarter as revenues plummeted 57% year-on-year. Although the revenue figures were higher than expected, I wouldn’t put much stock in Wall Street’s projections. (If you set the bar low enough, anyone can “beat expectations.”) Nevertheless, there was a silver lining: Coinbase’s subscription and service revenues increased 34% during the quarter. However, investors should be aware that Coinbase is being probed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for its staking products. The exchange is attempting to put out the fire before it even starts (more on that below).

Coinbase staking ‘fundamentally different’ to Kraken’s — chief lawyer

With the SEC cracking down on Kraken over its staking products, other exchanges are trying to get ahead of the curve to avoid similar repercussions. This week, Coinbase’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal told shareholders that the exchange’s staking products “are fundamentally different from the yield products described in the reinforcement action against Kraken.” According to Grewal, Coinbase users always retain ownership of their digital assets. Secondly, users have a “right to the return,” which means Coinbase can’t unilaterally decide not to pay any rewards for staking. The SEC filed a complaint against Kraken alleging that the exchange’s users lose control of their tokens when participating in the staking program. Kraken settled with the SEC for $30 million.

Hedge fund closes operations after losing funds in FTX exchange: Report

The crypto market felt FTX’s enduring legacy again this week after hedge fund Galois Capital reportedly shut its doors. Galois had sizable exposure to FTX when the exchange went bust in November 2022. According to the Financial Times, Galois’ co-founder Kevin Zhou has already penned a letter to investors apologizing for his firm’s involvement with FTX. Zhou also told investors they would receive 90% of Galois’ remaining assets, with the remaining 10% held at the firm temporarily. Like other FTX creditors, Galois is waiting for the bankruptcy process to begin — that process could take up to a decade to fully pan out.

Mastercard to allow crypto payments in Web3 via USDC settlements

Mastercard’s foray into the digital asset market continued this week after the payments giant disclosed a partnership with Web3 payment protocol Immersive. This means Mastercard users wishing to make a direct crypto payment will no longer rely on third parties — as long as they have a Web3 wallet. Real-time payments for digital and physical goods will be settled in USD Coin (USDC), a U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin issued by Circle. Will this partnership be an important milestone in advancing the mainstream adoption of Web3 wallets, or will it be lost in the noise? Only time will tell. In the meantime, much more work is needed to educate people about Web3’s actual meaning.

Before you go: Beware of Bing AI chat and ChatGPT pump-and-dump tokens

ChatGPT has taken the world by storm in recent months. Now, scammers want to capitalize on this growing trend by launching a series of fake pump-and-dump tokens. Investors, beware! In this week’s Market Report, Marcel Pechman and I dissect the recent explosion in pump-and-dump tokens and share a few words of wisdom on how to stay safe. We also give you the latest pulse of the cryptocurrency market and whether Bitcoin is bullish or bearish. You can watch the full replay below.

Crypto Biz is your weekly pulse of the business behind blockchain and crypto, delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Mastercard Rolls Out System Allowing for Stablecoin Payments Directly From Crypto Wallet

Mastercard Rolls Out System Allowing for Stablecoin Payments Directly From Crypto Wallet

A collaboration between financial services giant Mastercard and web3 tech company Immersve is set to offer a new option for paying physical, digital and metaverse purchases using crypto assets. Immersve says the payment solution will enable consumers in New Zealand and Australia to use digital currencies directly from their web3 wallets to pay for goods […]

The post Mastercard Rolls Out System Allowing for Stablecoin Payments Directly From Crypto Wallet appeared first on The Daily Hodl.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Mastercard to allow crypto payments in Web3 via USDC settlements

The Mastercard-Immersve partnership uses decentralized protocols to settle real-time cryptocurrency transactions on outlets accepting Mastercard payments online.

A partnership between Web3 payment protocol Immersve and payments giant Mastercard will allow users to make crypto payments on digital, physical and the Metaverse worlds. USD Coin (USDC) tokens — a US dollar-backed stablecoin issued by Circle — will be used to settle transactions on Mastercard’s network.

The Mastercard-Immersve partnership uses decentralized protocols to settle real-time cryptocurrency transactions on outlets accepting Mastercard payments online. Users will be able to use their existing Web3 wallets to make direct crypto payments without relying on a third party for collateral.

Instead, Immersve will partner with a third-party settlement provider and allow its users to use USDC for all purchases. Once the transaction is successful from the user’s end, USDC will get converted to fiat before settling on Mastercard’s network.

Immersve-Mastercard partnership for crypto payments in the Metaverse. Source: immersve.com

Users will be able to access the feature through popular Web3 wallets and use their private keys to approve payments. In this regard, Jerome Faury, CEO at Immersve, shared optimism toward crypto use cases, stating:

“Collaborating with a well-known and trusted brand like Mastercard is a big step towards mainstream adoption of web3 wallets.”

Moreover, Web3 wallets and decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols can integrate into Immersve’s APIs and smart contracts to transact anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

Related: Bit2Me and Mastercard launch debit card with crypto cashback

Over several years, Mastercard has fostered numerous partnerships to stay relevant in the crypto ecosystem. One such initiative was Mastercard’s partnership with crypto exchange Binance to launch a prepaid card in Latin America.

The card allows real-time crypto-fiat conversions for 14 tokens in Brazil. At the time of the launch, perks included up to 8% cash back in crypto on eligible purchases and zero fees on some ATM withdrawals.

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney

Report: Flutterwave CEO in Bid to Recover Millions Stuck in Kenya

Report: Flutterwave CEO in Bid to Recover Millions Stuck in KenyaAccording to reports, the CEO and co-founder of the Nigerian fintech Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, recently visited Kenya where he sought to convince the country’s monetary authorities to grant the firm access to funds that have been blocked since July 2022. Agboola claimed that his firm had “instituted a number of changes over the past year […]

‘Operation Choke Point 2.0’ may have contributed to SVB collapse: Mulvaney