Mastercard Exec: Crypto has ‘potential to transform financial system infrastructure’

Recently, Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President of Blockchain/Digital Asset Products and Digital Partnerships at Mastercard, explained what his company is doing to unleash the “transformative potential of financial system infrastructure” of crypto.

In a blog post Posted on Wednesday, October 12, Dhamodharan gave examples of things Mastercard is doing to “turn cryptocurrencies into an everyday means of payment”:

  • encrypted debit cards: “In Argentina, we launched a prepaid card with Binance that allows users to fund their card with their crypto, which is converted into fiat currency immediately when they make payments.
  • services for crypto companies: “Mastercard is a provider of cybersecurity, digital ID, consulting and open banking services to tens of thousands of financial institutions. We will be using these same tools to provide more support for crypto readers and issuers.
  • Payments: “We have in partnership with a handful of top crypto-focused companies – including Paxos, Circle, Evolve and Uphold – to develop ways for people to quickly convert their crypto to fiat to make payments.
  • supporting some cryptocurrencies directly on their network: “An important way to expand choice for people is to provide certain digital assets approved by Mastercard across our networks, a plan we announced last year and which continues to move forward.
  • NFT support: “Coinbase users can now pay for NFTs with Mastercard, and in June we announced plans to bring the same functionality to eight new NFT markets and infrastructure providers.

On August 2, Mastercard CFO Sachin Mehra shared his thoughts on crypto. His comments were made during a interview with Bloomberg’s Lisa Abramowicz.

Regarding crypto, he said:

In the world of crypto, we act as an on-ramp, with people using our debit and credit products to buy crypto. And we act as an exit ramp: when people want to cash it out, we help them access it so they can use their crypto balances anywhere Mastercard is accepted. It’s a revenue-generating capability that’s been quite successful since crypto environments first came into existence…

For anything to be a vehicle of payment in our minds, it must have a store of value. If something fluctuates in value every day such that your Starbucks coffee today costs you $3 and tomorrow it will cost you $9 and the next day it will cost you a dollar, that is a problem from an consumer mindset. So we see crypto more as an asset class. But as a payment instrument, we believe stablecoins and CBDCs [digital currencies issued by central banks] potentially have a bit more lead.

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Don F. Davis