Not a day goes by without a headline on cryptocurrency, distributed ledger and blockchain initiatives. This technology has undisputable potential and Mastercard, in line with our history of leaning into emerging tech to advance cash displacement and financial inclusion, has been working on blockchain related use cases for several years.
Following our withdrawal from the Libra Association membership process last week, we’ve received a great deal of interest in understanding how we evaluate technologies, programs and partners that have the potential to evolve the payments industry and enhance the value we can deliver. We thought it useful to share.
We strongly believe that for digital currencies to become trusted payment instruments for consumers or businesses, it is essential that they offer stability, regulatory compliance and consumer protections.
Many of today’s 2,600 digital currencies today fail to do this.
Having operated multiple secure, safe, scalable payment networks around the world for many years, Mastercard is committed to bringing that experience to emerging blockchain networks and digital currencies. Our participation in these initiatives are guided by the same principles we apply to our own networks. They must:
- Provide strong consumer protection, including privacy and security of the consumers’ information and transactions;
- Deliver a level playing field for all stakeholders, including but not limited to financial institutions, merchants, and mobile network operators to contribute and benefit from the blockchain networks; and
- Operate in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including those applicable to anti-money laundering, and consistent with the economic systems of the countries the network operates in.
We believe in the transformative power of blockchain. We hold the third largest number of blockchain patents and patent applications, and from our provenance solution to commercial payments, our exploration of blockchain applications span our entire business ecosystem. And with several other public and private sector crypto initiatives also in progress including our partnership with R3 focused on cross border transactions, we will maintain true to our principles as we strive to expand financial inclusion and boost global prosperity.