Mastercard, a major player in the world of payments, has taken a step to encourage teamwork and discussions in the cryptocurrency field, particularly when it comes to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
In a blog post released recently, Mastercard introduced the CBDC Partner Program, a platform designed to stimulate cooperation and dialogue within the cryptocurrency industry. Notably, influential names like Ripple, Fireblocks, and Consensys have already become part of this program.
The main goal of Mastercard’s initiative is to foster conversations, creativity, and efficiency within the cryptocurrency realm. Raj Dhamodharan, who leads the Digital Assets and Blockchain division at Mastercard, highlighted the significance of having a range of payment options that work seamlessly together for a thriving economy. He noted, “As we anticipate a future driven by digital means, it’s crucial for CBDCs to be as user-friendly as traditional currencies.”
While CBDCs are distinct from conventional cryptocurrencies, they do share certain commonalities and might harness blockchain technology, which underpins well-known cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Mastercard has a strong history of driving innovation in the domain of digital assets, particularly in the context of CBDCs.
Earlier this year, the company introduced a prepaid card in the Bahamas to facilitate the use of the country’s groundbreaking CBDC. Moreover, Mastercard unveiled plans to set up a testing ground in the United Kingdom to explore tokenized bank deposits. This initiative is expected to eventually incorporate CBDCs and regulated stablecoins, underscoring the company’s dedication to exploring cutting-edge technologies in the financial sector.
Global Interest in CBDCs Grows as Mastercard Takes the Lead
Mastercard’s move aligns with the worldwide trend of various nations considering the possibility of digitizing their currencies through CBDCs. Based on data from the CBDC Tracker, more than 114 countries, accounting for over 95 percent of global GDP, are presently examining CBDCs. Among them, over 10 countries have already launched pilot programs or operational CBDCs. For instance, Russia recently greenlit a bill to introduce a digital version of its national currency, with testing set to commence in August.
It’s important to note that while numerous countries are exploring retail CBDCs for general public use, the United States is focused on developing a wholesale CBDC primarily designed for interbank transactions.
Mastercard has consistently shown its support for blockchain technology, recognizing its potential to bring added value to the financial industry. The company has actively engaged with the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem through initiatives such as Start Path Crypto, which is aimed at helping startups in the blockchain, crypto, and digital asset space scale their operations.