Mastercard to Prepare its Network for Stablecoins and CBDCs

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  • Payments giant Mastercard aims to prepare its network for facilitating stablecoin and central bank digital currency (CBDC) transactions.
  • CEO Michael Miebach said they can provide a “safe space for governments and private sector banks” to test out their digital currencies.
  • Mastercard has been consistently doubling down on crypto recently.

Payments giant Mastercard aims to prepare its network for facilitating stablecoin and central bank digital currency (CBDC) transactions.

During its third-quarter earnings call on Thursday, Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach acknowledged that crypto has undergone incredible growth, attracting hordes of new investors. He added that the company is concentrated on helping users get exposure to this industry, saying:

We see significant volumes in terms of people actually investing in crypto and selling crypto, so as an asset class there’s a lot going on, and I think we have a role to play to facilitate consumers wanting to do that.

Miebach argued that a government-backed digital currency has the most likelihood of success, adding that they will set up a network for CBDCs when the governments are “ready to put out a central bank digital currency identical exist alongside the dollar or the euro in settlement currency in our network.” He said:

How will a government test that? How will a country figure out between the private sector banks and the governments how to do this? That’s where our sandbox comes in; we can provide a safe space for governments and private sector banks to figure out how that would actually work.

He said they might as well create a network for facilitating stablecoin transactions. “Should there be a private sector stablecoin, we might also do that,” Miebach said but insisted that they have “very strict principles” on how and when they are going to do it.

Mastercard Bets Big on Crypto

A couple of days ago, Mastercard announced a partnership with digital asset firm Bakkt which will enable the payment giant to offer cryptocurrency-based credit cards and debit cards. According to a press release, Bakkt will enable Mastercard partners to offer cryptocurrency solutions.

“Digital assets have the potential to reimagine commerce, from everyday acts like paying and getting paid to transforming economies, making them more inclusive and efficient,” said Sherri Haymond, executive vice president at Mastercard.

This was not Mastercard’s first foray into digital currencies, however. The company has unveiled that it aims to acquire the crypto intelligence company Ciphertrace in September. This acquisition would enable Mastercard to access insight into over 900 crypto-assets currently monitored by CipherTrace.

As covered by FullyCrypto, Mastercard inked partnerships with a number of prominent crypto firms, including Circle, Paxos, Evolve Bank & Trust, Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Uphold, BitPay, and Apto Payments, among others, back in July.

In a survey earlier this year, Mastercard revealed that 4 in 10 people plan to use crypto as a payment method. The firm also acknowledged that businesses need to adopt the latest payment gateways in order to meet consumers’ demand, which describes why the firm is constantly doubling down on crypto.