Mastercard Introduces the Crypto Source Product for Banks

American multinational financial services giant Mastercard Inc has launched its latest product dubbed the Crypto Source as it is exploring new avenues to let banks within its network offer crypto-related products in a compliant manner.




Riding on the feedback from its New Payments Index it recently published which shows as many as 65% of respondents of crypto savvy individuals will prefer it if they can access regular crypto offerings from their already trusted financial institution. 

Understanding this position of retail investors and the realization that banks shy away from crypto because of compliance and security risks accounted for why Mastercard floated the Crypto Source product.

As announced, financial institutions subscribing to this product will be able to offer Buy, Sell or Hold services to their customers. The product is offered in conjunction with top cryptocurrency platforms in the Web3.0 ecosystem including Paxos.

“At Mastercard, trust is our business. What we are announcing today is a connected approach to services that will help bring users safely and securely into the crypto ecosystem. Our recent investments in this space, such as the acquisition of CipherTrace and Ekata, are providing us with a unique set of capabilities to help provide our customers and consumers with the most technically advanced solutions available in the market,” said Ajay Bhalla, President, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard.

Besides the trading and custody services that the Crypto Source feature will enable banks to offer, security protection, the offering of crypto spend and cashout capabilities, as well as crypto program management will also be on offer to banks subscribing to the new Mastercard service.


Understandably, mainstream financial giants have been quite cautious with respect to the nature of crypto products they make available, especially to retail investors. The majority of banks have focused on custody services targeting institutional investors, the latest of which is BNY Mellon, and this Mastercard Crypto Source may be just the needed boost most of them require.

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Mastercard to Float New Compliance Product alongside CipherTrace

American multinational financial services corporation Mastercard has partnered with its newly acquired subsidiary, CipherTrace, to launch a new product called Crypto Secure that helps banks assess the risk of crime associated with crypto merchants on its network.


This latest product is the company’s direct attempt to stem the growing incidence of criminal activities perpetrated through exchanges. CNBC reported that participating banks would block illicit transactions emanating from crypto exchanges integrated with the Mastercard payment network through the service.

CipherTrace, known as a major security outfit helping governments and organizations combat crime in the blockchain ecosystem, will be powering the new offering using a set of advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.

The Crypto Secure product will help stakeholders determine the crime risk associated with crypto exchanges on the Mastercard payment network. The data that the AI algorithm will draw on will be derived from on-chain data sourced from linked blockchains.

As detailed by CNBC, the Crypto Secure product will present a dashboard to participating banks. It will brandish a colour-coded representation of the level of risks associated with transactions emanating from trading platforms. For more straightforward profiling, ‘Red’ means the severity of risk is high, while ‘Green’ means it is low.

Mastercard is a major stakeholder in the current crypto ecosystem, enabling payment transactions on the majority of the trading platforms connected to its network. With the prevalence of crimes, including money laundering activities on exchanges today, the Crypto Secure product will seek to help restore the much-needed sanity as dubious traders will further find it difficult to move funds around.

Mastercard’s exploits alongside CipherTrace, which it acquired last year, are not a pioneering advancement in the crypto ecosystem. As a security startup in the industry, CipherTrace has launched a series of related products to help track illicit transactions across the board.

The Crypto Secure product will be one that will have wider accessibility through the global influence of Mastercard.

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Percentage of Crypto Transaction Volume Used for Crime is Reducing: CipherTrace

The growth of the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem is not reflected in the percentage of crypto transaction volumes being used for illicit or fraudulent criminal activities.


This fact was corroborated by blockchain security firm, CipherTrace in a recently published survey report.

According to the CipherTrace data, the nascent digital currency ecosystem recorded a 1,456% growth from January 2019 when the industry was valued at $135 billion to March 2022 when it was pegged at $2.1 trillion. In between, the industry attained an all-time high in terms of its combined market cap which almost topped $3 trillion.


Amidst this growth, the rate at which scammers utilized crypto as a tool for their activities notably declined from 0.62 – 0.65% in 2020 to 0.1 – 0.15% in 2021. This comes on the back of a total of $590 million paid as payment to ransomware attackers in 2021, a figure that stands at 42% above the figure recorded within the same time frame in 2020.


The insight from CipherTrace also revealed that there is a gradual shift in the modalities being employed by cybercriminals. The security outfit said its data showed that illicit activities are now gradually moving into the decentralized finance (DeFi) space as well as into mixing services and digital collectables or non-fungible tokens (NFTs).


This year alone has seen a lot of attacks on DeFi protocols, one of which is the $625 million breach of the Ronin Bridge, Axie Infinity’s main bridge. The Lazarus Group from North Korea was linked to this crime by US authorities and Blender, a privacy mixing tool was indicted as being used by the hackers to launder the proceeds of the hack. 


This corroborates CipherTrace’s observation that mixing services are now being featured in criminal activities. In stemming the activities of, the US Treasury Department has placed a sanction on the protocol.

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Mastercard Acquiring Crypto Intelligence Company To Expand Digital Asset Capabilities

Mastercard is acquiring the crypto intelligence company CipherTrace in order to “extend its capabilities deep into the field of digital assets.”

The credit card giant says it will utilize CipherTrace’s technology, AI and cyber capabilities to assist with its card and real-time payments infrastructure.



CipherTrace uses various forms of analysis to scan distributed ledgers and identify illicit transactions. The acquisition is expected to close by end of the year, pending certain conditions.

Explains Ajay Bhalla, the president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard,

“Digital assets have the potential to reimagine commerce, from everyday acts like paying and getting paid to transforming economies, making them more inclusive and efficient.

With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe. Our aim is to build upon the complementary capabilities of Mastercard and CipherTrace to do just this.”

Mastercard has already partnered with the crypto exchanges Gemini and Uphold and the Bitcoin payment service provider BitPay to create crypto cards.

The company also announced a pilot program in July to test Circle’s widely-used stablecoin USDC on its platform.

The trial is designed to facilitate crypto-to-fiat conversions, and it will allow customers to spend their crypto assets more easily as card issuers and crypto businesses settle payments to Mastercard.

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Mastercard Attains CipherTrace to Boost Security and Fraud Detection in the Crypto Ecosystem

Payment giant Mastercard announced the acquisition of CipherTrace, a leading cryptocurrency intelligence company, to offer businesses powerful intelligence about the crypto economy as digital assets continue becoming more intertwined with daily activities.

In a statement, Mastercard revealed the expectation for crypto consumers to have peace of mind about their investments. As a result, the acquisition will help the card issuer offer crypto users significant security and fraud detection apparatus by highlighting the risks and regulatory obligations. 

Ajay Bhalla, the president of cyber & intelligence at Mastercard, welcomed the move and said:

“With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe. Our aim is to build upon the complementary capabilities of Mastercard and CipherTrace to do just this.”

He added that digital assets emerged to be more inclusive and efficient based on their capability to reshape commerce.

Boosting transparency in crypto assets

CipherTrace has carved a niche for itself in the crypto space based on its innovative platform, which boosts fraud monitoring and security for crypto-related programs.

For instance, the intelligence company unveiled a predictive risk-scoring model intended to instantly avert money laundering of cryptocurrencies from ransomware attacks and theft in July 2020.

At the time, Twitter had been hacked, and high-profile figures like Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates were hit by a massive Bitcoin scam. 

The acquisition will enable the integration of different technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and cyber security for a safer crypto ecosystem.

Per the announcement: “The deal enables Mastercard to combine the technology, AI and cyber capabilities of both companies to differentiate its card and real-time payments infrastructure, allowing customers and stakeholders globally to build upon and benefit from the solutions to protect their consumers and comply with regulations, as they build their own virtual asset offerings.”

Mastercard continues to stamp its authority in the crypto space. For example, the payment giant launched a crypto program dubbed Start Path to support fast-growing cryptocurrency, digital assets, and blockchain companies in July this year. 

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Mastercard Buys CipherTrace to Boost Crypto Monitoring

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Mastercard has acquired CipherTrace to detect fraud, expand its crypto strategy, and drive innovation.

Mastercard To Leverage CipherTrace’s Data Analytics

Mastercard, one of the world’s largest card payments companies, has announced a new crypto acquisition.

The firm has bought crypto analytics company CipherTrace, according to a Thursday announcement. The terms of the acquisition deal have not been disclosed.

The payments company said it would leverage the analytics capabilities of CipherTrace to enhance security and fraud detection in crypto assets.

CipherTrace is regarded as one of the top on-chain analytics firms, with various regulators as clients. It has worked with banks, cryptocurrency exchanges, government regulators, and law enforcement agencies around the world to track illicit cryptocurrency transactions.

Commenting on the acquisition, president of Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard Ajay Bhalla said:

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“With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe. Our aim is to build upon the complementary capabilities of Mastercard and CipherTrace to do just this.”

According to the press release, the acquisition will help Mastercard enhance its fraud monitoring for its crypto-related programs. Acquiring CipherTrace will enable the payments firm to merge the data intelligence it has gathered from the card payments sector with the fast-growing crypto space. This intelligence will help Mastercard create solutions that can better comply with global regulations around payments.

CipherTrace’s analytics will also assist the payments firm in driving crypto innovation with its partners. Mastercard is currently building a crypto strategy to compete with Visa, its biggest rival in card payments processing. Visa has had a strong presence in the crypto space, including partnering with various crypto companies to issue payment cards, supporting stablecoin payments, and even purchasing NFTs.

Recently, Mastercard has been catching up and has made several crypto-related investments. It’s also partnered with Uphold, Gemini, and BitPay to create crypto cards, and is following Visa’s lead in supporting USDC payments directly on its network.

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Mastercard acquires major crypto forensics outfit CipherTrace

Mastercard’s focus on crypto and digital currencies appears to have taken a greater dimension given the company’s recent move.

According to a release on Thursday, the global payments giant has reached an agreement to acquire CipherTrace, a blockchain intelligence firm with crypto forensics capabilities for over 900 cryptocurrencies.

As part of the acquisition, Mastercard says it plans to integrate CipherTrace’s operations into its own cyber security solutions for digital assets.

According to the announcement, Mastercard will combine its cyber capabilities with CipherTrace technology to differentiate its card and real-time payments architecture. For Mastercard, the deal will allow clients and partners to adopt digital assets while maintaining compliance with financial regulatory provisions.

Commenting on the acquisition, Mastercard’s cyber and intelligence chief Ajay Bhalla remarked that the growth of the crypto market has necessitated the need for trusted and safe operations.

Indeed, Mastercard has been visible in the crypto and blockchain investment scene, including partnerships with notable crypto primitives in the crypto credit and debit card arena, such as Gemini and BitPay.

Back in July, the company’s CEO stated that Mastercard needed to establish a significant presence in the crypto space. At the time, the payments giant revealed plans to become the de-facto testing partner for stablecoin and central bank digital currency projects.

In May, the company published a survey stating that 40% of people intend to adopt crypto for payments in 2022.

Related: CipherTrace develops Monero tracing tool to aid US DHS investigations

The acquisition of a major player in the crypto forensics arena like CipherTrace might be geared towards greater interaction with central banks and stablecoin issuers on digital currency matters.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, announced plans to integrate CipherTrace’s “Traveller” tool into its compliance toolkit as a way of ensuring compliance with the Financial Action Task Force’s “Travel Rule.”