Mastercard’s recent slip in growth over the first quarter of 2018 has been blamed on a decline on the number of cryptocurrency purchases the company has been processing.

According to Mastercard, the slump is due to a fall in the number of people using its services to purchase cryptocurrencies. Cross-border payments through the company have increased in the first quarter by 19 percent, but have fallen by 2 percent compared to last year.

Mastercard’s users are able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, an approach in contrast with that of other organizations like JP Morgan, which banned the buying and selling of cryptos through its services.

While Mastercard has not followed suit, the company’s CEO, Ajay Banga, has attributed the decline in cross-border payments to the ongoing uncertainties of the South Asian market.

“There's a lot of concerns even in Japan because one of their biggest exchanges got hacked… As you can see, right now there's a little less interest than there was in the latter part of the fourth quarter and the first quarter.”

Ajay Banga

Mastercard has, however, explicitly stated that cryptocurrencies do not make up a major part of its longer-term corporate strategy because of their volatility. The company’s chief executive added:

“This is not something we count on because we just don't know how to predict it or we don't even want to count it.”

Ajay Banga

Throughout 2018, the values of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin underwent sharp falls, with March seeing Bitcoin’s value plummet by 24 percent, in part due to regulatory concerns. Since then, the flagship cryptocurrency has recovered to $9,690 at press time.

Major international banks have come out against cryptocurrency purchases earlier this year. With the UK-based Lloyds and Virgin Money issuing bans against their sale and purchase