Mastercard Outlines Plans for Cryptocurrencies, Stablecoins, Central Bank Digital Currencies
Mastercard’s CEO has outlined the company’s plans to develop products and services around cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). “We want to be playing a role across all of them … It’s obviously a vibrant space around digital currencies,” said the CEO.
Mastercard Wants a Role in All 3 Crypto Areas
Payments giant Mastercard provided an update of its cryptocurrency plans during the company’s earnings call Thursday. CEO Michael Miebach explained that his company wants a role in three crypto areas. In addition to cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, the company also focuses on the private sector’s stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies. He affirmed:
We want to be playing a role across all of them … It’s obviously a vibrant space around digital currencies … This is a relevant technology. As a multi-rail player, we got to be in this space because people are looking for answers.
For cryptocurrency, Miebach explained: “We’re making it easier for cryptocurrency wallets to connect seamlessly to our network through a pilot with Paxos, Circle and Evolve Bank & Trust, which simplifies the conversion of crypto into fiat.” The executive added: “Separately, we’re partnering with Consensys, the Ethereum software engineering firm, to accelerate the development of crypto applications and services to our customers.”
Regarding crypto investing, the CEO said:
Clearly, people want to invest in that. They don’t want to sell their investments, and we’re going to make this as easy as possible. So we have all these partnerships out there.
As for stablecoins, the CEO said that Mastercard is “engaging with private sector players as well as regulators on what does good policy look like around private sector stablecoins because this question about regulatory compliance is still unresolved.”
Miebach then reiterated what he said during the company’s Q1 earnings call that Mastercard was “getting ready to technologically enable our network to carry these stablecoins as settlement currencies provided they meet one of our — all three of our criteria, which is regulatory compliance, consumer protection and stability.”
Regarding central bank digital currencies, he noted that a growing number of central banks are exploring CBDCs, including the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England. The executive said:
Things are definitely continuing to move forward … there is clear progress.
Responding to a question about Mastercard’s value proposition to central banks and the government in the crypto space, the CEO said: “we bring a unique perspective to the market … to these players as a multi-rail provider because all these countries have to make the trade-off.” He opined:
Everybody has different motivations ranging from financial inclusion to cross-border payments and hence, we’re a sought-after party because we have experience in all of that.
Specifically, he noted: “I think a particularly critical proposition here is our virtual test platform because all of these design choices that governments have to make and that we consult them on, we then have to live in the wild, so to say. They’ve got to work with the existing financial infrastructure, and that’s what our virtual test platform does for them.”
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