Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach spoke to investors and other stakeholders during an earnings conference. He said that his most optimistic view on cryptocurrency was when he discussed central bank digital currencies (or CBDCs). We are not saying that this technology will work in payments at the moment. That was something we stated on several calls. As soon as the government issues a CBDC, we will have our network prepared to accept it. This CBDC will be used as an alternative to the USD or euro in our settlement currencies.
Mastercard is still confident in its role, Miebach stated that « we can provide a safe environment for the government and private sectors banks to work out how it will actually work. » Talk of CBDCs has continued to rapidly gain traction over the past year. Just a few days later, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced plans to unveil its own eNaira CBDC in the country. On Monday, Mastercard announced it would partner with cryptocurrency marketplace Bakkt to enable its U.S. customers to trade digital currencies. In September, the company declared that it would acquire blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace to track illicit transactions across 900 different cryptocurrencies.
However, CEO Miebach has taken a more risk-averse approach to the industry as a whole, as stated in the company’s third-quarter earnings call: « Questions such as the last mile – how can you get utility in the hands of your citizens, if you create a CBDC? […]”