Visa and Mastercard Go Big on Crypto With Plaid Investment

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There’s a long arc of crypto acceptance. It wasn’t so many years ago that Mastercard representatives were speaking ill of cryptocurrency, calling it the realm of criminals.

The Long Road to Crypto Acceptance

Now, both Mastercard and Visa are investing significantly in a company called Plaid, which services some heavyweights in the crypto industry like Coinbase. Plaid can help create an instant link between a financial service and a bank, in many cases saving days of wait time for customers.

Services like Plaid are part of a new wave of banking, that embraces the likes of cryptocurrency and understands that the full digitization of the economy isn’t so far off.

In truth, going cashless is only the first step along the path to a fully digital economy.

Plaid works helping banks understand the nature of the products that customers are using, and easing the transition between the new platforms and banks. There are more banks than there are services, however, so there are plenty – such as local credit unions – that still have to wait for traditional verification.

Plaid’s Zach Perret said in a blog post:

“Today, we are excited to announce that Mastercard and Visa have made strategic investments in Plaid. We have long been inspired by the work these networks did to digitize commerce, and hold this as an example for what we hope to accomplish in financial services. We look forward to collaborating on products that lie at the intersection of commerce and financial services.”

The new and digital economy will require a plethora of services, and companies like Plaid will be what enable these new services to get off the ground. Many of them will be crypto oriented, much like Coinbase, whose connection to the US banking industry plays an important role in its ability to function as a retail on-ramp and exchange.

Crypto’s Uphill Climb

At present, there’s not a significant benefit to acquiring and then shopping with cryptocurrency. The preferred method to interact with the asset, among many, is to either buy and hold or to buy and trade. In either case, using the token in everyday exchange is not a priority.

However, as mainstream services realize the power and potential of blockchain solutions, and begin to build frameworks, new companies will enter the growing industry, much like Plaid has, by association.

It’s still perfectly within the realm of reason to expect, for example, a company like PayPal to fully integrate some form of blockchain solution or another, and on-board many of its users in the process. Beyond that, mainstream payment providers can still benefit from using blockchain solutions, especially as new technologies increasingly make themselves available.