Mastercard putting lobby pressure on Bitcoin

Julian Hattem at The Hill reported Tuesday that US federallobbying disclosure reports show MasterCard is paying its lobbyists to focus onBitcoin.

Five lobbyists from PeckMadigan Jones were looking into “Bitcoin and mobile payments,” thequarterly report read. You can read the report here.

This means MasterCard is officially the first company tolobby Captiol Hill for anything Bitcoin related.

And MasterCard has a contentious past with cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin andMasterCard

Wired reported last week that Xapo was about torelease a Bitcoin debit card that would work on MasterCard networks, but Hattemreported Tuesday that MasterCard denied such cooperation.

Something similar happened in 2012, when the now-defunctBitInstant announced in August of that year that it was about to roll outBitcoin debit cards with MasterCard as a partner. MasterCard representativesthen denied any relationship with them, too.

In fact, MasterCard has seemed even more hostile toward Bitcointhan most other companies.

Here is what Theodore Iacobuzio wrote on MasterCard’s ownblog last fall:

“Now that Silk Road has been busted (the details are ultra gamey) is there anyreason for Bitcoin, the anonymous online currency backed by nothing but itsusers (i.e., not by any state), to continue in existence? After all, the onlyother reason to hold it is for fun, speculation, and… anonymity. The first two donot promise great volume. Is the last always sinister?”

Two weeks after that post, reporter Teri Buhl recounted a conversation she had with StevenRuch, Senior Vice President & Group Head of Franchise Development atMasterCard. She reported then that Ruch referred to Bitcoin as “one big Ponzischeme.”

“I thought WOW he is really afraid of this thing,” Buhlwrote.

“Whenever I hear anyone think the digital currency is aPonzi scheme it makes me realize they are just not educated on the subject orthey are close minded to the viability of a currency outside the paper moneysphere. Now Ruch is an intelligent person but this is also a man who told me hethinks Fox News in the morning is a credible source of information.”