Mastercard, Hi Launch NFT-customized Debit Cards as NFT Interest Dips

Mastercard leans more into crypto through its latest partnership with hi exchange


Source: Shutterstock


key takeaways

  • Mastercard partners with crypto, fiat exchange to bring NFT avatars to debit cards
  • US users cannot currently access the card

Cryptocurrency and fiat exchange hi has launched a debit card that users can customize with their own NFT avatars. The cards are powered by Mastercard, the financial services provider announced Monday. 

“Not only do the NFT cards look amazing, this is a great way for people to show which online community they belong to, but in the real world,” Sean Rach, co-founder of the deliberately lowercased hi, said in a statement. 

Users in more than 25 European countries will be eligible for the card, Mastercard said, but the debit card can be used at any merchant in the world that accepts Mastercard payments. 

Hi members will have access to six versions of the customizable debit card, which users gain access to by staking the HI token. Hi members in the gold tier are eligible to receive custom debit cards, the company said

HI — the token — is not currently available on centralized exchanges in the US, such as Coinbase, but users can purchase the token through Coinbase Wallet and decentralized exchanges.  

The hi and Mastercard teams are betting on NFT holder’s desire to flaunt their status, even as interest in many collectables seems to be dwindling. 

NFT sales across the board have dropped about 17% in the past month, according to data from Crypto Slam. The Bored Ape Yacht Club collection lost 27% in sales over the past four weeks, while the CryptoPunks collection fell 57%, data shows. 

Cardholders will be able to choose from a limited number of NFT collections for their card avatar, including CryptoPunks, Goblins, Bored Apes and Azukis, Mastercard said. 

“As consumer interest in crypto and NFTs continues to grow, we are committed to making them an accessible payments choice for the communities who wish to use them,” Christian Rau, senior vice president of crypto and fintech enablement at Mastercard, said in the statement. 

Mastercard has shown interest in the growing digital asset space in recent years. In 2021, the company announced plans to allow users to earn cryptocurrency rewards through its loyalty program. 

In June 2022, the financial giant partnered with Coinbase to enable payments for NFTs through the exchange. 
“Coinbase was basically an on-ramp for crypto for many, many users. Millions of people were able to access bitcoin for the first time by using Coinbase,” Prakash Hariramani, Coinbase senior product director for payments and commerce, said in a statement at the time. “So we want to do the same thing for NFTs with Mastercard by solving the pain points — to make it as easy as possible to buy an NFT and make sure it’s the best consumer experience.”

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