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Mastercard welcomes 5 new members to blockchain accelerator

Mastercard (NASDAQ: MA) has announced the expansion of its startup incubator program to include blockchain startups, with French card issuer Kulipa and U.K. blockchain infrastructure startup Parfin in the first batch.

Mastercard launched Start Path in 2014, and over the past decade, it has supported over 400 startups from 50 countries. These companies have raised over $15 billion after graduating from the program.

The payment card services giant has expanded the program to include startups developing decentralized solutions. Under the Start Path Blockchain and Digital Assets Program, Mastercard intends to offer a four-month program to help the first batch of five startups expand use cases and offer the best user experience.

Mastercard will connect the five to fintech and payments experts to explore how their blockchain solutions can solve other real-world problems beyond their primary target markets.

“As digital assets become increasingly mainstream, Mastercard is embracing opportunities to support and collaborate with startups to build the future of blockchain and digital assets innovation through the Start Path startup engagement program,” commented Sabrina Tharani, Mastercard’s SVP for Global Fintech Programs.

The five include Kulipa, a French startup issuing a crypto payment card for non-custodial wallets with Apple Pay (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google Pay (NASDAQ: GOOGL) integrations.

“Through Mastercard Start Path, we have the opportunity to discover new ways to expand financial inclusion with convenient and global stablecoin payments,” commented Axel Cateland, the founder.

Others are Parfin, a U.K. company whose services allow mainstream financial firms to integrate blockchain rails; U.S.-based Triangle, whose blockchain solutions cater to the carbon credit market; Belgium’s Venly, which offers a Web3 platform for developers; and Singapore-based Peaq, whose focus is on decentralized physical infra networks (DePIN).

“This dynamic set of startups will receive access to our network of partners, including mentorship opportunities and resources to support them to scale their solutions and reach new markets,” added Mastercard’s Tharani.

Mastercard continues to invest in blockchain in anticipation of a looming disruption of the financial services industry. A week ago, it joined hands with Kima, an Israeli P2P blockchain payments protocol, to develop a “DeFi credit card.”

Mastercard has also worked with other mainstream players, such as JPMorgan (NASDAQ: JPM) and Citigroup (NASDAQ: C), on blockchain tokenization and continues to apply for blockchain patents.

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