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Mastercard Pushes Deeper Into NFTs with New Partnerships

Mastercard pushes into the NFT space with several strategic partners to enable NFT purchases without owning crypto.

Since its partnership with Coinbase in January, which allows customers to purchase NFTs from the crypto exchange’s new marketplace, Mastercard is now looking to bridge the relationship between creators and customers by removing the need for buyers to own crypto to buy the latest NFT.

The payment processor’s latest partnerships include Immutable X, Candy Digital, The Sandbox, Nifty Gateway, MoonPay, and Mintable.

Mastercard recently conducted a survey of over 35,000 respondents, revealing that 59% of consumers would be more confident about crypto if backed by a reputable company. This initiative follows a year of research and development to determine how to connect 2.9 billion Mastercard customers to the $25 billion NFT market.

In September 2021, Mastercard created its first NFT, related to the renowned football coach and global ambassador Jose Mourinho, which was awarded to a U.K. Mastercard customer as part of a sweepstakes competition.

Back in April, Mastercard filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which indicated its intention to offer payment services and virtual spaces for its customers in the metaverse.

Visa and American Express enter Web3

Last year, Visa entered the Web3 after purchasing a CryptoPunk for $150,000. In May, the company launched the Visa Creator Program geared towards fashion, music, art, and film entrepreneurs looking to leverage NFTs to help grow their businesses.

American Express has also filed seven patent applications to establish a presence in the metaverse by enabling payments at NFT marketplace, creating branded virtual cards, and offering concierge services.

Making it easy to buy NFTs

Customers got a taste of Mastercard’s new push into NFTs after the payments company struck a deal with Coinbase in January this year to allow customers to buy NFTs using their Mastercard without owning crypto.

“Today, if you want to buy an NFT-such as a digital art piece-you first need to open a crypto wallet, buy crypto, then use it to purchase an NFT in an online marketplace. We think it should be much easier. That will ensure NFTs can be for everyone,” Mastercard’s head of digital asset and blockchain partnerships Raj Dhamodharan wrote in a blog post.

While Mastercard’s vision is to enable NFT purchases without crypto, customers purchasing NFTs will still need a crypto wallet to store the NFTs.

Last year, Mastercard partnered with crypto asset custodial and trading platform, Bakkt to allow holders of Bakkt Mastercards to earn crypto rewards instantaneously when they use their cards at specific merchants.

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