Julian Hattem at The Hill reported Tuesday that US federal lobbying disclosure reports show MasterCard is paying its lobbyists to focus on Bitcoin.
This means MasterCard is officially the first company to lobby Captiol Hill for anything Bitcoin related.
And MasterCard has a contentious past with cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin and MasterCard
Wired reported last week that Xapo was about to release a Bitcoin debit card that would work on MasterCard networks, but Hattem reported Tuesday that MasterCard denied such cooperation.
Something similar happened in 2012, when the now-defunct BitInstant announced in August of that year that it was about to roll out Bitcoin debit cards with MasterCard as a partner. MasterCard representatives then denied any relationship with them, too.
In fact, MasterCard has seemed even more hostile toward Bitcoin than most other companies.
Here is what Theodore Iacobuzio wrote on MasterCard’s own blog last fall:
“Now that Silk Road has been busted (the details are ultra gamey) is there any reason for Bitcoin, the anonymous online currency backed by nothing but its users (i.e., not by any state), to continue in existence? After all, the only other reason to hold it is for fun, speculation, and… anonymity. The first two do not promise great volume. Is the last always sinister?”
Two weeks after that post, reporter Teri Buhl recounted a conversation she had with Steven Ruch, Senior Vice President & Group Head of Franchise Development at MasterCard. She reported then that Ruch referred to Bitcoin as “one big Ponzi scheme.”
“I thought WOW he is really afraid of this thing,” Buhl wrote.
“Whenever I hear anyone think the digital currency is a Ponzi scheme it makes me realize they are just not educated on the subject or they are close minded to the viability of a currency outside the paper money sphere. Now Ruch is an intelligent person but this is also a man who told me he thinks Fox News in the morning is a credible source of information.”