Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach says the company’s crypto-related patents are placing the payments giant in a position to capitalize on the launch of central bank digital currencies.
In the company’s Q3 earnings call, Miebach said Mastercard is preparing for the launch of digital forms of fiat currency around the world.
“If you look at some of the more prominent examples that are out there, if you look at Sweden, the Riksbank, there is a thought behind the central bank digital currency approach to deal with a world where there is no cash left.
In the Bahamas, they’re looking at the cost of cash. In South Africa, they’re looking at financial inclusion. So there’s a whole range of different motivations, and we’re trying to work with those governments to understand what those motivations might be.
And the central bank digital currency is the best answer possibly. In some other instances, it might be real-time payments or it might be something else that we haven’t even thought about. So that’s the first part of the dialogue. We have come to the conclusion that the construct of a central bank digital currency is an important aspect.
This is in ENC currency. So the central bank as in mining the currency is ensuring the resilience of the infrastructure. It’s critical. While the private sector has a really important role to play in terms of innovation on top of that infrastructure.”
Miebach cites the company’s intellectual property and years of creating patents in the cryptocurrency space as efforts that could pay dividends in the years to come.
“You think smart contracts. You think all sorts of solutions that make the lives of consumers and businesses easier. Now why are we a relevant partner in all of this? How does this affect all of us? First of all, we have invested years in cryptocurrency assets. We are the leading payment player when it comes to patents around crypto.
So that is – that puts us in a good position. We have a long track record in consulting with governments. If you look at some of the more prominent examples, we are having a seat at the table to see where this goes. I’ll give you one particularly important aspect of intellectual property that matters here.
Once you have a central bank digital currency, it’s going to make a difference to the consumers. And so how do you actually spend it? So the link into an acceptance network is critical. So we hold some patents in that space that link these transactions right back into our network where it can be used. And this is how we can bring value, and it brings value to us.”
Some of Mastercard’s patent filings include a system designed to keep crypto transactions private, a platform that would allow blockchain technology to save data in multiple transaction types and formats, and a method to link blockchain-based assets to fiat currency accounts.
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