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Mastercard Will Support Government Backed Cryptocurrencies but Not Junk

Mastercard has announced that it is receptive to using nationally backed central bank issued digital currency in the future while holding on to its stance that all others are “junk”, The Financial Times reported.

Mastercard Will Deal With National Digital Currency

In an interview with the FT Ari Sarkar, Mastercard co-president for the Asia-Pacific region, spoke about the future of Mastercard concerning its relationship with cryptocurrency.

He said that the credit giant is willing to deal with cryptocurrency that is government backed. “If governments look to create national digital currency we’d be very happy to look at those in a more favorable way [compared with existing cryptocurrencies],”

While there is a long list of governments exploring a central bank backed cryptocurrency which includes England, Canada, China, Russia, India, Dubai, and Estonia, only Venezuela has actually launched one, and that to major international criticism.

This is not a change in stance from October 2017 when Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga referred to cryptocurrency as “junk” in a conversation with the Financial Times as he also said that if there were government-backed digital currency Mastercard would be involved. Saying at the time.

“If the government creates digital currency, we will find a way to be in the game. We will provide rails for moving currency from customer to merchant. The government mandated digital currencies are interesting. Non-government mandated currency is junk.”

Sarkar also talked about a pilot program in Japan and Singapore that would allow Bitcoin traders to cash out directly onto their MasterCard. Adding that “The pilot] is a toe in the water, we’re fully cognizant of the reputational risk.”

5% Fee With Interest

Earlier last month Visa and Mastercard created a backlash of criticism when it relabeled cryptocurrency transactions from “purchases” to “cash advances”. This meant that traders using their cards were being charged an additional five percent from the credit company on top of any fees charged by the exchange.

On top of the percentage added on as cash advance traders would also be charged interest from the moment of the purchase. In some reported cases the interest would be over 20%. Still, Mastercard has not been ignoring the developing technologies completely as Sarkar mentioned Mastercard Labs, the credit company’s research arm, has filed for more than 30 patents related to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

Recently banks including Lloyds of London, Virgin Money in Australia, and Citigroup in the US, have banned customers from using credit cards for cryptocurrency purchases.

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The Jigsaw malware is back and it is ready to steal Bitcoin from consumers once again. Jigsaw is Back to Scare Bitcoin Users ZDNet recently reported that the “Jigsaw” ransomware has recently been revised by hackers to steal Bitcoin from unsuspecting users through a “simple-but-effective trick.” According to the technology news source, Jigsaw first appeared in the cryptocurrency scene in April 2016 as a form of ransomware, holding the files and information of users hostage until a ransom of Bitcoin was paid. The reason why it is named Jigsaw is due to the fact that the piece of code displayed the likeness of the Saw horror film villain. However, with this most recent revision, the ransomware has been re-purposed to steal Bitcoin in a fairly innovative and non-intrusive manner, modifying the addresses inputted by a user. Once the piece of malware alters an address, the Bitcoin payment will then be redirected to the hacker’s wallet, resulting in lost crypto for the victim. Jigsaw, or “BitcoinStealer,” as it is known by references in the code of the program, accomplishes this by altering Bitcoin addresses in someone’s clipboard, or the area where copied pieces of text lie. However, the ingenuity of the program does not stop there, as BitcoinStealer is able to the intended address of the payment to one that looks very similar, using a program such as VanityGen to trick the user into thinking the hacker’s address and the original address are one and the same. Image Courtesy of Fortinet This ingenuity has proven to be rather successful, with researchers from Fortinet, who first broke the news about Jigsaw, saying that cyber attacks utilizing this method have garnered over 8.4 Bitcoin, or approximately $61,000 at current market prices. Fortinet also discovered that there were many similar projects for “modifying cryptocurrency addresses” being advertised on dark web forum sites, presumably by hackers enlisting the same method of attack. Crypto-Related Cybercrime is Still Prevalent Despite Price Decline However, this method of cybercrime, which the cyber researchers called the “clipboard-substitution malware family,” was not mentioned in a recent threat report from the cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes. According to the report released on July 17th, ransomware and cryptojacking were by far the primary sources of crypto-related cybercrime, with “cryptominers continuing to dominate” the threat landscape. Despite starting to slow down due to declining cryptocurrency prices and mining profits, the Cybercrime Tactics & Techniques Report for Q2 2018 still found that cryptominers are as prevalent as ever, noting: “Cryptomining detections are slowly declining; however, as one of the top two detections for both businesses and consumers, they still dominate the threat landscape” Nonetheless, moving into Q3 of 2018, Malwarebytes expects for cryptojacking cases to slowly fade, as cybercriminals follow the industries where they can make the biggest profits. The security firm wrote: “Ultimately, many criminals aren’t getting the return on investment (ROI) from cryptomining they were expecting. The cryptojacking craze will likely stabilize as it follows market trends in cryptocurrency… Until changes in the cryptocurrency market cause a spike or swift downturn, expect to see cryptomining hum along at its current slower pace into Q3.” It is likely that the propagation of clipboard-substitutions will become a growing threat for cryptocurrency users moving into the future, as it is a much more reliable, non-intrusive and profitable way for hackers to get their hand on consumer crypto. So watch out, double, triple or even quadruple check the address when you send your next Bitcoin transaction. Featured image from Shutterstock. The post The Jigsaw Ransomware Has Been Revived to Steal Bitcoin from Unsuspecting Users appeared first on NewsBTC.

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