ALBAWABA-In this week’s crypto news recap, Mastercard terminates its partnership with Binance’s crypto cards, Shopify adds Solana Pay for crypto transactions, and VARA updates rules for custody providers to offer staking services, highlighting ongoing developments in the crypto space. All that and more so let’s find out. 

Mastercard Ends Crypto Card Partnership with Binance

Mastercard is terminating its partnership with Binance, a major cryptocurrency exchange, concerning co-branded crypto cards in Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, effective from September 22nd. This decision encompasses the conclusion of four pilot programs in these regions and is unrelated to other crypto card initiatives. 

Crypto News Recap: Mastercard Ends Binance Partnership

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The collaborative prepaid crypto card allowed users to transact in local fiat currencies using their crypto assets. Although Mastercard didn’t disclose reasons, it’s speculated that mounting regulatory scrutiny on Binance influenced the move. The partnership’s conclusion follows Binance’s legal conflicts with the US SEC and CFTC and a Department of Justice investigation. Visa has also distanced itself from Binance due to regulatory issues.

Shopify Adds Solana Pay for Crypto Payments, Starting with USDC

E-commerce behemoth Shopify has expanded its array of payment options by introducing Solana Pay, enabling millions of merchants to embrace cryptocurrency transactions. The platform’s rollout will begin with accepting stablecoin payments in USD Coin (USDC). In the pipeline, Solana plans to integrate additional altcoins, including its native SOL token and the meme token Bonk, as reported by TechCrunch. 

Josh Fried from Solana Labs has hailed the fusion of digital assets and payment solutions as the crypto industry’s “killer app,” emphasizing the potential for substantial cost reduction. Solana’s transaction fees stand at $0.00025 per transaction, significantly lower than credit card processing fees of 1.5% to 3.5%. With Shopify facilitating about 10% of all US e-commerce transactions, the partnership will serve as a testing ground for Solana’s blockchain, which has recently improved in performance and reliability. Solana Pay, launched in 2022, offers a peer-to-peer payment infrastructure through collaborations with key players like, Circle, Citcon, and Phantom for wallet integrations.

VARA Updates Rulebook Allowing Custody Providers to Offer Staking Services

The Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has unveiled an updated Custody Services Rulebook, granting Custody Services providers the opportunity to participate in staking activities, subject to defined criteria. Authorized Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) with valid Custody Services licenses can now offer staking services to clients with specific approval from VARA, eliminating the need for a separate VA Management and Investment Services license. However, an additional licensing fee for supervision will be required for the provision of this service. In a parallel development, Komainu, an institutional digital asset custody provider, secured its operational license from VARA on August 18, 2023, building upon its MVP license acquired in November of the previous year. With the full licensing process completed, Komainu is poised to deliver a spectrum of custody services, including institutional staking and collateral management, via its Komainu Connect platform to clients in the Emirate.

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