Financial services giant Mastercard announced the expansion of its Start Path program to embrace a new generation of blockchain payment startups. This initiative, unveiled on May 15, 2024, aims to explore the potential of blockchain technology in transforming how people and businesses manage money.

Five new startups were selected to join the program, including:

  • Kulipa: Specializes in crypto payments and crypto card issuance.
  • Parafin: Develops blockchain software solutions.
  • peaq: Works on decentralized physical infrastructure networks.
  • Triangle: Provides a data platform for the blockchain space.
  • Venly: Specializes in blockchain development tools.

Mastercard’s Start Path program functions as a fintech accelerator. It offers a four-month virtual program designed to foster collaboration and innovation. Participating startups gain access to Mastercard’s expertise, customers, and channels, enabling them to refine and scale their blockchain payment solutions.

This move by Mastercard aligns with a broader trend of financial institutions embracing blockchain technology. The ability of blockchain to offer secure, transparent, and efficient transactions holds significant promise for the future of payments.

The specific focus areas for these startups haven’t been explicitly revealed, but industry speculation suggests a potential marriage between decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols and traditional credit lines. This could lead to innovative financial products and services.

This development comes on the heels of Mastercard’s alliance with major U.S. banks, including Citigroup, Visa, and JP Morgan, to explore blockchain for bank settlements using tokenization technology. Additionally, Mastercard recently collaborated with 1inch to launch a debit card facilitating cryptocurrency-to-fiat conversions.

Mastercard’s investment in blockchain startups signifies their commitment to remaining at the forefront of the evolving payments landscape. By nurturing innovation in this space, they hope to unlock new possibilities for a more efficient and inclusive financial ecosystem.