In a recent development, global payment giant Mastercard (MA.N) and cryptocurrency exchange Binance have announced the discontinuation of their cryptocurrency card programmes in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Bahrain, effective 22 September. A spokesperson for Mastercard confirmed this decision via email, citing the end of these programmes and shedding light on the reasons behind the move.

The Binance cards, a collaborative effort between Mastercard and Binance, enabled users to conduct transactions in traditional fiat currencies, with funding sourced from their cryptocurrency holdings on the Binance exchange. While the discontinuation marks the end of these particular card programmes, it is important to note that Mastercard maintains other partnerships with cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Gemini. The spokesperson emphasised that the decision regarding the Binance partnership will not impact the continuation of Mastercard’s other existing crypto card initiatives.

The decision arrives amid a backdrop of challenges for Binance, which has been grappling with legal and regulatory issues. Notably, U.S. regulatory authorities filed a lawsuit against Binance and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao, alleging deceptive operations. In response, Binance expressed a commitment to robustly defending its position against these allegations.

Mastercard’s Head of Crypto and Blockchain, Raj Dhamodharan, had previously expressed the company’s intentions to seek further collaborations with cryptocurrency firms. Although Dhamodharan declined to comment specifically on the Binance situation, he highlighted that any card program undergoes stringent due diligence and continuous monitoring as part of the company’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards.

As news of the discontinuation emerged, Binance’s customer support account on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) addressed the situation. The account stated that the Binance Card would no longer be accessible to users in Latin America and the Middle East.

The evolving landscape of cryptocurrency and its intersection with traditional financial systems continues to be an area of keen interest and dynamic change. The termination of the Mastercard-Binance crypto card programmes in certain regions underscores the complexities and challenges inherent in this evolving industry.