Mastercard, the American multinational financial services group, announced that it is further delving into the digital asset ecosystem by acquiring blockchain intelligence company Ciphertrace. The partnership announcement said the company will help strengthen Ciphertrace and Mastercard’s cybersecurity solutions.
Mastercard bought Ciphertrace for an undisclosed amount
On Thursday, financial payments giant Mastercard (NYSE: MA) announced that it had acquired blockchain surveillance firm Ciphertrace. The blockchain company is a Menlo Park, California-based cybersecurity company that specializes in tracking “900+ cryptocurrencies.” Ciphertrace was founded by Stephen Ryan on May 31, 2016 and has filed a number of patents over the years. In mid-May, Ciphertrace reported on the trend from cryptocurrency crime towards decentralized finance (defi), and by the first week of August, Ciphertrace claimed it had improved Monero (XMR) tracing capabilities.
In the takeover announcement, Ajay Bhalla, President of Cyber and Intelligence at Mastercard, discussed the benefits of digital assets, but the payment giant wants to make sure the ecosystem is “trustworthy and secure”. “Digital assets have the potential to rethink commerce, from everyday actions like paying and paying to transforming economies to make them more inclusive and efficient,” Bhalla said in a statement Thursday. Bhalla added:
With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem, there is a need to ensure that it is trustworthy and secure. Our goal is to build on the complementary skills of Mastercard and Ciphertrace to achieve just that.
Mastercard’s entry into crypto is getting deeper
Mastercard has been anchored knee-deep in the crypto economy for quite some time, and the company’s interest grows every few weeks. In late July, Mastercard announced that the company’s card program for crypto trading platforms and wallets would be improved. A week later, Mastercard launched an initiative to empower cryptocurrency startups. While Ciphertrace announced the enhanced XMR tracing capabilities, Mastercard outlined the company’s plans for cryptos, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) that same week.
According to Ciphertrace, the company’s software is helping companies find solutions to “improve their security and fraud-monitoring activities for crypto-related programs.” Dave Jevans, CEO of Ciphertrace stated that Mastercard and Ciphertrace share a similar vision. “We help companies – be it banks or cryptocurrency exchanges, government regulators or law enforcement agencies – to keep the crypto economy safe,” said Jevans. He further added:
Our two companies share this vision of providing security and trust across the ecosystem. We are very excited to become part of the Mastercard family to expand the reach of CipherTrace around the world.
The acquisition cost of Ciphertrace was not disclosed in Mastercard’s announcement. Mastercard also stated that Ciphertrace is one of many investments as the company has made investments and partnerships with companies like Uphold, Bitpay and Gemini.
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