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  • Writer's pictureJamal Saafir

Mastercard Wants CBDCs

According to a report from BeInCrypto, credit behemoth Mastercard is interested in working with blockchain and crypto companies on its central bank digital currency (CBDC) program. The company has proclaimed the pros of state-controlled programmable money and wants to grow its partner program.

The firm noted that CBDCs were steadily garnering support, reporting that 93% of central banks are engaged in CBDC work, with four already being circulated.

Nevertheless, it said key questions remain around CBDC roles, security, privacy, and integration with existing systems.

Mastercard has launched its CBDC Partner Program to promote cooperation on blockchain-based money. Its initial partners include Ripple, ConsenSys, Fluency, Idemia, Consult Hyperion, Giesecke+Devrient, and Fireblocks.

Furthermore, Mastercard wants more crypto companies to become partners in the initiative. The note pointed out that partners are actively engaged in defining CBDC requirements, securing privacy, facilitating offline use, and developing interoperability.

“Mastercard is convening a group of leading blockchain technology and payment service providers to join its new CBDC partner program.”

Moreover, Jesse McWaters, who leads global regulatory advocacy at Mastercard, said CBDCs shouldn’t be adopted in a vacuum.

“The work of the Mastercard CBDC Partner Program will help central banks understand how to develop a CBDC that adds something new and valuable to the economy,” he added.

Fireblocks’ Varun Paul cautioned that hesitancy may have increased in the wake of last year’s “crypto winter.” Multiple scandals threatened the trust that the digital ecosystem needs to evolve and thrive, he added.

“Recent high-profile collapses actually strengthen the case for CBDCs, which are fully backed by a central bank and government.”

According to the Atlantic Council’s CBDC tracker, 130 countries, representing 98% of global GDP, are exploring a CBDC.

Furthermore, eleven countries have issued a Central Bank Digital Currency, all of which are in the Caribbean, except for Nigeria. In addition, there are 21 countries currently testing a CBDC, most of which are in the Middle East and Asia.

Despite their rapid adoption, as concerns over privacy and government control over financial freedom mount, not everyone believes that CBDCs are a practical remedy.

Earlier this year, US Congressman Tom Emmer presented the CBDC Anti-Surveillance Act. Additionally, the bill seeks to “halt efforts of unelected bureaucrats in Washington from stripping Americans of their right to financial privacy.”

In July, Republican Representative Warren Davidson called for a halt in CBDC development, contending that “Money should not be programmable by a central authority.”

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