Mastercard Inc. on Wednesday said it is preparing to support cryptocurrencies directly on its network this year, as the company follows the rise of digital assets.

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The company said more people are using cards to buy crypto assets such as Bitcoin and using crypto cards to access and convert these assets into traditional currencies for spending.

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“The trend is unmistakable,” Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships, said in a post.

This will provide more opportunities for shoppers and merchants to transact in a new way as well as open up new customers for merchants, the company said.

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MA MASTERCARD INCORPORATED 334.21 +0.77 +0.23%

While the move isn’t a recommendation for people to start using cryptocurrencies, it will provide people with a choice, Mastercard said.

The company won’t support all cryptocurrencies on its network, adding that it will look for digital assets that offer significant consumer protections, compliance protocols and other measures.

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“This is a big change that will require a lot of work. We will be very thoughtful about which assets we support based on our principles for digital currencies, which focus
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