During interviews with investors and stakeholders, Michael Maybach, CEO of Mastercard, shared his positive outlook on the cryptocurrency industry. The company has not only seen a significant increase in the number of consumers using a MasterCard card to purchase cryptocurrency, but it has also forged several partnerships with crypto companies. But Maybach’s most ambitious view comes from a discussion of central bank digital currencies, or digital central bank currencies:
“We are saying at this point that the most likely opportunity for this type of technology to work for payments is if it is issued by the government in the form of a central bank digital currency. Get our network ready for that when and when the government is ready to deploy a central bank digital currency that coexists with the dollar Or the euro as a settlement currency in our network.”
Maybach remains confident of Mastercard’s role in this endeavour, saying, “We can provide both public and private banks with a safe space to see how that actually works.”
Talk of CBDC has continued to grow rapidly over the past year. On October 21, the Bahamas became the first country in the world to issue a streaming digital currency known as the sand dollar. A few days later, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced plans to open his own eNaira CBDC in the country.
According to Statistica, Mastercard processed 113 billion transactions worldwide last year – just below Visa 188 billion and Union Pay 151 billion.
The world’s third largest payment processor has shown great interest in the cryptocurrency space in recent months. MasterCard announced on Monday that it will partner with cryptocurrency market Bakkt to enable its customers in the United States to trade digital currencies. In September, the company announced that it would buy blockchain analyst firm CipherTrace to track illegal transactions in 900 different cryptocurrencies. However, CEO Mibach is taking a riskier approach to the industry as a whole, as evidenced by the company’s third-quarter earnings statement:
“Questions like ‘last mile’ – how will you benefit your citizens by outsourcing CBD. Acceptance issues and so on. So, by facilitating investment as an asset class, we do that, and we prepare. Should there be a stable currency in the private sector?” We can do that too. But we have very strict guidelines on when we should and when we shouldn’t.”