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Mastercard, PayPal and Robinhood dive deeper into crypto as industry shows ‘promise’

For TradFi, crypto is in a ‘transitionary period’ and needs more on-ramps

As the crypto market works its way through a downturn, more incoming money and users could help it weather the storm.

But right now, it’s sometimes challenging for the layperson to get into crypto. Understanding gas fees and wallets isn’t intuitive, and the perceived miasma of complication that currently surrounds the space is no help, either. To help foster user adoption and the resulting capital inflow, web3 needs smoother on- and off-ramps to make it easier to buy into and interact with blockchains.

Trusted providers with existing mainstream audiences are betting they can help fill that gap.

In recent weeks, a number of brand-name mainstream financial institutions have been rolling out new crypto products and services in an attempt to make the space more accessible. At the end of April, Mastercard, PayPal and Robinhood all independently talked about the measures they’re taking to do so at Consensus 2023 and how they are furthering their moves into the crypto ecosystem.

“Despite the market, we continue to be at the cusp of mainstream adoption,” Jose Fernandez da Ponte, SVP and GM of blockchain, crypto and digital currencies at PayPal, told TechCrunch. “We got into this technology because we believe it contributes to the idea of a faster, more inclusive financial services environment,” Ponte said.

The crypto ecosystem is in a “transitionary period,” according to Raj Dhamodharan, EVP of blockchain and digital currencies at Mastercard. The industry is figuring out the technology and what else can be extracted from it, and “a lot of energy is going to figuring out the next use cases,” he said.

People new to crypto are likely to be more willing to use a platform that they already know and trust to buy into web3 products and services. Household financial names opening their doors to the ecosystem could prove to be the catalyst that pushes crypto from a niche to something more.

On April 28, Mastercard launched “Crypto Credential,” a set of standards and infrastructure that aims to help certify interactions between consumers and businesses using blockchain networks.

“We’re excited about the underlying technology and the promise the technology offers,” Dhamodharan said. “We think public blockchains can be a utility to store and move value over time…and you have to show that you can do it in a regulatory compliant way.”

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