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  • Mastercard said it will offer support for customers to transact in some select cryptocurrencies this year.
  • The card-payments firm is "actively engaging" with major central banks to launch digital currencies.
  • All crypto coins won't be supported on its network because many still lack compliance measures. 
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Mastercard will begin allowing customers to use some cryptocurrencies on its network later this year, joining a handful of corporates that have embraced digital tokens.

"We are preparing right now for the future of crypto and payments, announcing that this year Mastercard will start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on our network," Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset products said in a blog on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Tesla revealed a $1.5 billion bitcoin investment and said it would soon begin accepting the token as payment for its products.

Mastercard already allows cardholders to spend digital assets via external platforms. But this means the transaction doesn't actually go through its own network. But now, the company aims to support crypto partners by allowing many more merchants to accept digital tokens. This would "cut out inefficiencies, letting both consumers and merchants avoid having to convert back and forth between crypto and traditional to make purchases," Dhamodharan wrote.

The company said it was also "actively engaging" with central banks around the world to possibly launch new digital currencies so people have a new method to make payments.

Mastercard said it will not support all cryptocurrencies on its network, as many of them need to tighten their compliance measures. "We will be very thoughtful about which assets we support based on our principles for digital currencies, which focus on consumer protections and compliance," the company said.

The company did not specify which tokens would qualify for use on its network.

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