Mastercard Acquires Crypto Analytics Firm CipherTrace

By Stephen Graves

Mastercard has announced that it has acquired cryptocurrency tracking firm CipherTrace with a view to providing “additional transparency and support” for the emerging ecosystem of digital assets.

CipherTrace specializes in cryptocurrency-focused anti-money laundering, forensics, and blockchain threat intelligence solutions, with an analytics platform that enables the tracking and deanonymization of crypto transactions.

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Mastercard and CipherTrace’s “integrated offering” will help businesses “identify and understand their risks” and “help manage their digital asset regulatory and compliance obligations,” the companies announced in a press release accompanying the news.

“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,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard. “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.”

Speaking to the Decrypt Daily podcast in late 2020, CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans stated that the company’s goal is to “help people play by the rules” by finding a middle ground between crypto and regulators.”

Mastercard is taking an increasing interest in the crypto space, announcing earlier this year that it planned to “start supporting select cryptocurrencies directly on our network” in 2021.

The company revealed that its criteria for integrating cryptocurrency payments include the desire among consumers to use the cryptocurrency rather than investing in it, alongside consumer protection, rigid regulatory and compliance measures such as KYC—areas where its new acquisition will be well-placed to help it.