Mastercard is teaming up with five startups to solve global blockchain challenges as part of the payment giantâ€™s â€œStart Path Cryptoâ€ program, the company announced Thursday.
Mastercard launched the Start Path program in 2014 as a way to help later-stage startups scale their businesses. Now the companyâ€™s Start Path Crypto unit will be working with smart-contracts platform Ava Labs, AI-focused mobile banking app Envel, peer-to-peer savings platform Kash, bitcoin banking app LVL and crypto rewards platform NiftyKey.
Ava Labs is best known for building the Avalanche blockchain, an Ethereum competitor that facilitates decentralized applications (dapps) and the creation of custom blockchains on its ecosystem. The total value locked in Avalancheâ€™s DeFi ecosystem is around $12.6 billion, according to DeFi Llama.
The group of startups will work with Mastercardâ€™s ecosystem of partners
across the globe to expand and accelerate blockchain technology innovation.
â€œWhether itâ€™s enhancing financial freedom or a new value-added service using stablecoins, we believe our new cohorts of Start Path crypto and digital assets companies combined with Mastercardâ€™s expertise in the space will accelerate access to new ways to pay and prioritize choice for consumers and businesses,â€ Jess Turner, Mastercardâ€™s executive vice president of new digital infrastructure and fintech, said in a statement.
Competitor Visa launched a similar accelerator program called â€œFast Trackâ€ in 2019, and has been adding to its list of partners, which include crypto lending platform Cred and bitcoin lightning startup LastBit.
â€œMastercard is setting an example for leaders across all industries on how to embrace, rather than combat innovation,â€ John Wu, Ava Labsâ€™ president told CoinDesk. â€œWe look forward to working with projects and partners in the Start Path program to accelerate the positive impacts blockchain technology will have for individuals and institutions across the world.â€
Read more: Mastercard Outlines 3-Pronged Strategy to Support the Growing Crypto Community