Mastercard Is Buying Blockchain Analytics Start-Up CipherTrace

Mastercard has agreed to acquire blockchain analytics start-up CipherTrace, in the latest sign of how major companies are warming to cryptocurrencies.

The payments giant said Thursday, Sepember 9, it entered into an agreement to buy CipherTrace for an undisclosed amount. Based in Menlo Park, California, CipherTrace develops tools that help businesses and law enforcement root out illicit digital currency transactions. The company’s competitors include New York-based Chainalysis and London start-up Elliptic.

“Digital assets have the potential to reimagine commerce, from everyday acts like paying and getting paid to transforming economies, making them more inclusive and efficient,” Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard, said in a statement. “With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe.”

A key concern with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is that the people transacting them are anonymous. That has made digital assets the currency of choice for a number of hackers and other criminals. However, the blockchain is a public ledger of all digital currency transactions, and services like CipherTrace’s analyze movements of funds to ascertain whether they’re dubious.

Mastercard stated the deal would help its customers protect themselves and comply with regulations as they start to build out their own digital currency offerings. CipherTrace stated its platform is used by some of the world’s largest banks and crypto exchanges.

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