Mastercard has announced that it is bringing its payments network to Web3 and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
In a potentially critical moment for cryptocurrency and the blockchain, Mastercard will enable NFT commerce with Immutable X, Candy Digital, The Sandbox, Mintable, Spring, Gift Gateway and Web3 infrastructure provider MooPay.
This is a major play from the credit card giants, which means that all their card holders will be able to purchase NFTs without buying crypto or dealing with crypto wallets.
The move by Mastercard comes after they had conducted a survey of over 35,000 people in 40 countries and found that 45% had purchased an NFT or would consider doing so.
Interestingly, this news follows Visa’s recent announcement of their NFT Creator Program launch.
Mastercard has 2.9 billion customers worldwide and they’re doubling down on Web3 technology.
Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President of Digital Asset & Blockchain Products and Partnerships said: “These NFT marketplaces represent a huge breadth of the burgeoning NFT space — which generated more than $25 billion in sales in 2021 — from art to sports to video games to collectibles to metaverse platforms.”
He continued: “These marketplaces also host sales for some of the biggest names in NFTs. With the help of these companies, Mastercard’s expanding adoption of Web3 — a new version of the internet based on blockchain — adds to our existing work bringing our payment network to Coinbase’s new NFT marketplace, which opened to all Coinbase users in May.”
“Overall, these integrations are designed to make crypto more accessible and help the NFT ecosystem keep growing, innovating and bringing in more fans”.
Significantly, Mastercard also gave assurances that those buying NFTs could expect a similar level of safety and security as with all Mastercard purchases.
This kind of rhetoric is guaranteed to soothe concerns about NFT security. Moreover, this could be a trigger moment in the crypto adoption bell curve.
A key moment
In the history of mass technological adoption, it always begins with innovators and early adopters and in order to progress through the adoption levels, catalyst moments need to occur. This could prove to be a key catalyst moment.
Mastercard are on-ramping their 2.9 billion customers into the world of NFTs and as a consequence, the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Indeed, all security concerns associated with crypto are vanquished because the average user feels safer using Mastercard to purchase products as opposed to emerging technologies.
This could be one of those leverage points where the worlds of Web2 and Web3 start to converge and it certainly brings us closer to a seamless, interoperable metaverse.
The NFT gateway drug
NFTs have such a universal appeal and they’re only just getting started. When we start to see the next layer of adoption with NFTs, as they’re integrated into systems like education and healthcare, the adoption figures will start to soar upwards.
NFTs are the gateway drug for non-native crypto investors, who are unfamiliar with the tech and need a point of transition. The enormous demographic who have contemplated using cryptocurrencies, done some research on it, but perhaps haven’t pulled the trigger yet, may be close to making the plunge. The smoother the plunge, the more likely this demographic will make the leap. Mastercard is removing a lot of headaches and granting a ‘safe’ passage onto the blockchain.
Once the average user accepts and adopts NFTs, we could be looking at a bell curve moment for cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. Adoption will inevitably rise as more users are on-boarded to the blockchain and the world of Decentralized Finance (DeFi).
With the use cases constantly accelerating, NFTs are growing in worldwide appeal. In turn, Mastercard has recognized this and staked their claim. Does this move signify a form of departure from the traditional banking system? Time will tell, but it certainly feels like a seminal moment for Web3.