Mastercard launches ‘next generation’ of blockchain payments startup program


Fintech giant Mastercard announced the addition of five new startups to its Start Path Blockchain and Digital Assets program on May 15. 

The Start Path Blockchain and Digital Assets program is a fintech accelerator program that focuses on “exploring future use cases to scale new solutions with startups around the world.”

Joining the program are crypto payment and card issuer Kulipa, blockchain software firm Parafin, decentralized physical infrastructure network (DePin) firm peaq, data platform Triangle, and blockchain developer Venly.

In a press release, Mastercard highlighted that this leg of the program would focus on use cases and trials to attack specific issues:

“Each currency format – from regulated money to bank deposits, to stablecoins and CBDCs – serves a specific purpose, and Mastercard is connecting with industry experts and fintechs to explore differentiated use cases that can help to solve real-world problems.”

Source: @Venly_io on X.

Per a press release from Mastercard, it only considers “high-potential blockchain, digital assets and Web3 startups” for the program. Those firms selected “receive the opportunity for collaboration, bespoke training and access to Mastercard’s customers and channels” during a four-month program.

Launched in 2014, Start Path has purportedly supported more than 400 startups in 54 countries. Through programs such as this, Mastercard has steadily maneuvered its way to the forefront of the fintech and blockchain payments forum.

As Cointelegraph recently reported on May 14, Mastercard Lab partnered with Israeli fintech firm Kima to develop a “DeFi credit card.” While not made explicit, the big idea seems to be marrying decentralized finance protocols with the ability to apply for a line of credit.

On May 8, Mastercard announced the formation of an alliance with U.S. banking giants including Citigroup, Visa, and JP Morgan to test distributed ledger technology for banking settlements using tokenization.

In April, Mastercard and 1inch unveiled a debit card with cryptocurrency-to-fiat bridge functionality allowing cryptocurrency users to make cash withdrawals and point-of-sale payments at locations where debit cards are accepted.

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