AVAX’s Ava Labs Among Startups Chosen for Mastercard’s Crypto Accelerator

The payments giant has chosen five new companies to be a part of its “Start Path Crypto” program.

AccessTimeIconDec 9, 2021 at 9:48 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:03 p.m. UTC

Mastercard is teaming up with five startups to solve global blockchain challenges as part of the payment giant’s “Start Path Crypto” program, the company announced Thursday.

Mastercard launched the Start Path program in 2014 as a way to help later-stage startups scale their businesses. Now the company’s Start Path Crypto unit will be working with smart-contract builder Ava Labs, AI-focused mobile banking app Envel, peer-to-peer savings platform Kash, bitcoin banking app LVL and crypto rewards platform NiftyKey.

Ava Labs is best known for building the Avalanche blockchain, an Ethereum competitor that facilitates decentralized applications (dapps) and the creation of custom blockchains on its ecosystem. The total value locked (TVL) in Avalanche’s DeFi ecosystem is around $12.6 billion, according to DeFi Llama. TVL represents the dollar value of all tokens locked in the smart contracts of a decentralized lending project.

“Whether it’s enhancing financial freedom or a new value-added service using stablecoins, we believe our new cohorts of Start Path crypto and digital assets companies combined with Mastercard’s expertise in the space will accelerate access to new ways to pay and prioritize choice for consumers and businesses,” Jess Turner, Mastercard’s executive vice president of new digital infrastructure and fintech, said in a statement.

Competitor Visa launched a similar accelerator program called “Fast Track” in 2019 and has been adding to its list of partners, which include crypto lending platform Cred and bitcoin lightning startup LastBit.

“Mastercard is setting an example for leaders across all industries on how to embrace, rather than combat innovation,” John Wu, Ava Labs’ president told CoinDesk. “We look forward to working with projects and partners in the Start Path program to accelerate the positive impacts blockchain technology will have for individuals and institutions across the world.”


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Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto reporter focused on public companies and digital asset firms.