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Mastercard to open up network to select cryptocurrencies

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Feb 10 (Reuters) - Mastercard Inc said on Wednesdayit was planning to offer support for some cryptocurrencies onits network this year, joining a string of big-ticket firms thathave pledged similar support.

The credit-card giant's announcement comes days after ElonMusk's Tesla Inc revealed it had purchased $1.5 billionof bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment.

Asset manager BlackRock Inc and payments companiesSquare and PayPal have also recently backedcryptocurrencies.

Mastercard already offers customers cards that allow peopleto transact using their cryptocurrencies, although without goingthrough its network.

"Doing this work will create a lot more possibilities forshoppers and merchants, allowing them to transact in an entirelynew form of payment. This change may open merchants up to newcustomers who are already flocking to digital assets,"Mastercard said. (https://mstr.cd/3tLaPZM)

Mastercard specified that not all cryptocurrencies will besupported on its network, adding that many of the hundreds ofdigital assets in circulation still need to tighten theircompliance measures.

Many cryptocurrencies have struggled to win the trust ofmainstream investors and the general public due to theirspeculative nature and potential for money laundering.(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing byRamakrishnan M.)