MasterCard acquires blockchain intelligence firm for enhanced security solutions

*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, says Ajay Bhalla, President of Cyber and Intelligence at MasterCard

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the payments giant’s entry into cryptocurrencies gets deeper, coupled with its efforts at improving cybersecurity solutions, MasterCard, the American multinational financial services corporation, has announced the company is investing further in the digital assets ecosystem by acquiring the blockchain intelligence firm Ciphertrace.

ConsumerConnect learnt the partnership announcement indicates the firm will help to bolster Ciphertrace’s and MasterCard’s cybersecurity solutions in the digital assets space.

The financial payments giant MasterCard (NYSE: MA) in a statement Thursday, September 9, 2021, had disclosed the company acquired the blockchain surveillance firm Ciphertrace, but did not reveal the acquisition cost in the announcement.

Blockchain Company Ciphertrace is a Menlo Park, California-based cybersecurity firm that specialises in tracking “more than 900 cryptocurrencies.”

The firm was founded by Stephen Ryan May 31, 2016, and it has filed a number of patents throughout the years, agency report stated.

Ciphertrace, mid-May 2021, reported on cryptocurrency crime moving towards Decentralised Finance (DeFi), and during the first week of August, Ciphertrace claimed it had enhanced monero (XMR) tracing capabilities.

Report says in the acquisition announcement Ajay Bhalla, President of Cyber and Intelligence at MasterCard, discussed the benefits of digital assets but the payments giant wants to make sure the ecosystem is “trusted and safe.”

Bhalla, in a statement said: “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.”

According to MasterCard, in view of the rapid growth of the digital assets ecosystem comes the need to ensure that it is trusted and safe.

Our aim is to build upon the complementary capabilities of MasterCard and Ciphertrace to do just this, said Bhalla.

MasterCard digs deeper into crypto ecosystem

MasterCard has been knee-deep in the cryptocurrency economy for quite some time, and every couple of weeks the company’s interest gets deeper, according to report.

ConsumerConnect had reported the payments giant noted at the end of July this year, that MasterCard’s card programme was being enhanced for crypto trading platforms and wallets.

MasterCard, a week later then, launched an initiative to help bolster cryptocurrency startups.

While Ciphertrace announced the enhanced XMR tracing capabilities, that same week MasterCard outlined the firm’s plans for cryptos, stablecoins, and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

Ciphertrace also stated the firm’s software helps companies to find solutions to “enhance their security and fraud monitoring activities for crypto-related programmes.”

Dave Jevans, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ciphertrace, explained that MasterCard and Ciphertrace share a similar vision.

Jevans said: “We help companies – whether they are banks or cryptocurrency exchanges, government regulators, or law enforcement to keep the crypto economy safe.”

The Ciphertrace Chief Executive stressed their two companies share this vision to provide security and trust throughout the ecosystem.

“We are thrilled to join the MasterCard family to scale CipherTrace’s reach across the globe,” said he.

MasterCard added Ciphertrace is one of many investments as the company has invested and partnered with firms such as Uphold, Bitpay and Gemini.

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