Digital currency firm Circle has partnered with Mastercard to enable individuals and businesses to utilise USD Coin (USDC) for transactions.

Under the tie-up, Circle and Mastercard will use USDC to facilitate crypto-to-fiat conversions in a pilot programme.

The aim is to expand the ability of issuers and crypto businesses to enable customers to spend their crypto assets.

This collaboration also aims to accelerate the shift to more internet-native financial infrastructure by testing USDC as a way for card issuers to more easily settle payments to Mastercard.

Circle co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire said: “The engagement between Circle and Mastercard reinforces how USDC is growing its role in payments and commerce on the internet, while building a vital bridge between digital currency payment systems and large, established payment networks.”

The partnership comes at a time when consumers, business and payment firms increasingly adopt USDC to facilitate payments digitally.

USDC circulation has grown to over $25bn, of which more than $785bn in transaction volume is facilitated on-chain.

Circle said that the tie-up with Mastercard will enhance the card giant’s crypto card programme for cryptocurrency exchanges.

Mastercard executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships Raj Dhamodharan said: “The engagement between Mastercard and Circle fuels new payment opportunities and commerce in digital currencies.

“The cryptocurrency market continues to mature and we are driving it forward together to reduce friction and create choice for people.”

Besides Circle, Mastercard is also working with blockchain infrastructure and regulated stablecoin issuance platform Evolve Bank & Trust and Paxos Trust Company to enhance its cryptocurrency card programme.

In May this year, crypto exchange FTX signed a global partnership with Circle for payment support and USDC infrastructure.