mastercard ciphertrace to crypto compliance

CipherTrace for an undisclosed sum.

Enterprise customers of Mastercard will, following the acquisition, be able to avail of CipherTrace’s analytics and consultation on issues surrounding crypto “to help identify and understand their risks and to help manage their digital asset regulatory and compliance obligations”.

The intelligence outlet was founded in 2015 and has received significant funding from the US Department of Homeland Security and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

CipherTrace claims to have 150 clients worldwide including banks, crypto exchanges, fintech companies and regulatory bodies.

The deal is expected to be completed before the end of the year, pending certain conditions, according to a Mastercard statement.

The move is the latest sign of increased focus on crypto and digital assets at Mastercard.


If there is a compliance structure that ‘’layers’’ itself into blockchains and cryptos and flows of funds that is managed by Mastercard, then your network becomes more valuable to use. Think of CipherTrace as a net or filter for all the future digital funds to go through.

Mastercard also positions itself to support banking efforts in all matters of digital assets thus digging its ties deeper yet with established capital.
CipherTrace in other words derisks bank activity in crypto and be the ally for any risk-oriented depository parties.

Now, Mastercard also gets to spy on all crypto payment activity which is probably the most valuable aspect of this deal.


Contribute to roadmap strategy and product feature requirements across teams. Advise on analytical tooling and expertise in data mining, science, visualization, language processing Evaluate, select, and manage vendor relationships and performance.
Requirements The ideal candidate should be a passionate, self-motivated, team player with experience working in a quickly evolving environment and who has a willingness to work and learn in a collaborative organization.

To be successful, you should have experience in the following areas:

8+ years building enterprise applications and 5+ years in a technical leadership role. Collaborate with various functions, drive engineering initiatives.
Managed and developed a team of engineers with crypto related data objectives. Defining and implementing data strategies and developing analytics organizations.

With the legitimization of crypto with things like the price surges of Bitcoin and Ethereum, and El Salvador legalizing BTC as a legal tender, Mastercard realizes it needs to prepare protecting 20,000 banks and 500 million customers that use payment technology. Ultimately, it’s a card network acquiring a forensic compliance startup.

But also, this is a broader competition between Mastercard and Visa.

In a sense, this acquisition is Mastercard’s way of stabbing at Visa’s recent move on CryptoPunk, a NFT marketplace where Visa bought CryptoPunk 7610 for $150,000. The CipherTrace move also follows Mastercard’s Finicity acquisition last year, e-billing solutions, clearing and instant payment services buyouts and its Aiia purchase last week.


In the latest fundraising round in June, CipherTrace raised $27 million from investors, including the high-profile New York hedge fund Third Point Ventures.

At that time, CipherTrace planned to double its 100-employee headcount over the next year to capitalize on the growing demand for crypto security, trade publication Coindesk reported.

CipherTrace raised $15 million in 2018 in a fundraising round led by Palo Alto-based Aspect Ventures, according to a press release the time. The startup has also received funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to its web site, likely meaning CipherTrace has also done work for the federal government.

Mastercard has sought in recent years to increase its ability to service the financial institutions and businesses incorporating the use of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, such as non-fungible tokens.

The drive to monitor that realm has risen in the industry with the climbing value of Bitcoin, the most widely used cryptocurrency that today has a value just over $47,000.

Mastercard said its purchase of CipherTrace will allow it to offer enhanced digital asset security and fraud detection services and more choices in its use of digital assets.

CipherTrace uses data analytics and algorithms to analyze digital assets and lets customers interact more safely with some 7,000 cryptocurrency entities, the release said.

Menlo Park, Calif.-based CipherTrace was founded in 2015 and has raised about $42 million, according to past news reports.

Dive Brief:

  • Card giant Mastercard said in a press release today that it’s agreed to buy CipherTrace, a cryptocurrency security company that provides software and related cyber services to thwart money laundering and crypto fraud. Financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed, but it is expected to close by the end of this year.
  • Purchase, New York-based Mastercard said the acquisition will help accelerate and expand its crypto strategy by providing business clients with an enhanced view of their digital assets, a better understanding of their risks and more tools to manage regulatory compliance requirements.

Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard. “But every interaction and experience must be protected. Through advanced crypto intelligence, Mastercard’s CipherTrace technology is strengthening the security and transparency of the crypto ecosystem and bringing trust to these new payment flows.”

“Brazil is one of the hottest crypto markets in Latin America, with high levels of cryptocurrency adoption.

By partnering with Mercado Libre, we’re building on our longstanding relationship of working together to solve the needs of our shared customers, helping consumers to pay simply and securely using crypto”, says Estanislau Bassols, Mastercard Brazil Division President.

“Aligned with our purpose of democratizing commerce and financial services, we want to break more barriers, providing a simple and safe experience with crypto assets.

CipherTrace analyses massive amounts of validated blockchain transaction attribution to build up insight on more than 900 cryptocurrencies. This intelligence is ten used by clients, including some of the biggest banks and exchanges in the world, for security and fraud monitoring.

Mastercard says that by integrating this with its own cybersecurity technology, it can give businesses greater transparency into the crypto space, helping them understand risks and manage their digital asset regulatory and compliance obligations.

Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence, Mastercard, says: “With the rapid growth of the digital asset ecosystem comes the need to ensure it is trusted and safe.

Our team has introduced novel solutions to challenges including sanctions compliance for DeFi and the Crypto Travel Rule. Our mission is to grow the blockchain economy by making crypto safe for users and trusted by governments.

CipherTrace operates on a global scale to assist banks, cryptocurrency exchanges, law enforcement agencies, regulators, VASPs and businesses in preventing fraud, human trafficking, money laundering, and other illicit activity where cryptocurrency is involved.

Description Location: Remote, Dublin, Ireland or South San Francisco Bay, California

The CipherTrace Engineering Director will:

Build the next generation cryptocurrency tools and DeFi platforms. Plan and execute long term strategies related to data strategy and deployment.

Discuss data architecture and product decisions across the engineering teams. Develop core product KPIs.

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