Mastercard’s CEO reveals plans for cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and CBDCs

    07 Aug 2021

    Mastercard revealed plans to develop products and services around cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The company wants to play a role in all three vibrant crypto areas, according to the CEO.

    Mastercard’s CEO, Michael Miebach, provided an update of the company’s cryptocurrency plans during the earnings call on Thursday. He explained that his company wants a role in three crypto areas. In addition to cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ether, the company also will focus on private stablecoins and digital currencies provided by central banks (CBDCs).

    “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,” affirmed Miebach.

    1. Cryptocurrencies

    Regarding cryptocurrencies, the payments giant’s CEO 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.”

    Also, he stated: “Separately, we’re partnering with Consensys, the Ethereum software engineering firm, to accelerate the development of crypto applications and services to our customers.”

    “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,” the CEO added concerning crypto investing.

    2. Stablecoins

    For stablecoins, Miebach 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.”

    Also, he 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.”

    3. CBDCs

    Regarding central bank digital currencies, the CEO pointed that a growing number of central banks are exploring CBDCs, including the Bank of England and the European Central Bank (ECB).

    “Things are definitely continuing to move forward … there is clear progress,” he added.

    Responding to a question about Mastercard’s value proposition in the crypto sector for central banks and the government, the CEO answered:

    “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.”

    Miebach declared:

    “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.”

    Also, he added: “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.”

    As reported before, Mastercard announced in May supporting select cryptocurrencies on its payment network. As cryptocurrencies becoming more popular as an investment and payment method, the company taking steps to make it easier for people to transact using secure digital currencies.

    Main image source linkedin.

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