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Mastercard Launches Forum for Crypto Industry Players to Discuss CBDCs

Mastercard, the global payments leader, has launched a platform dedicated to fostering conversations and teamwork among stakeholders in the cryptocurrency domain, specifically concerning central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

In a recent blog post released on Thursday, Mastercard revealed that notable entities like Ripple, Fireblocks, and Consensys have already joined the CBDC Partner Program.

The core aim of this initiative is to stimulate discussion, drive innovation, and enhance productivity in the sector.

Raj Dhamodharan, who leads Mastercard’s digital assets and blockchain initiatives, commented, “Our commitment is to payment diversity, and we believe that a seamless interplay between different payment modes is vital for a thriving economy.”

“As we navigate the path to a more digital-centric world, ensuring that the value encapsulated within a CBDC is as user-friendly as any other currency is crucial.”

While CBDCs differ from traditional cryptocurrencies, they bear resemblances and might be built on the foundational technology of blockchain, the same technology that powers renowned cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Mastercard has consistently been at the forefront of pioneering endeavors in the digital assets space, especially concerning CBDCs.

Earlier in the year, Mastercard unveiled a prepaid card in the Bahamas, promoting the adoption of the nation’s trailblazing CBDC.

In addition, Mastercard recently disclosed its intentions to establish an experimental platform in the UK aimed at delving into tokenized bank reserves.

This experimental platform will, in due course, integrate CBDCs and sanctioned stablecoins, underscoring Mastercard’s dedication to investigating nascent technologies in the finance sector.

Almost All Countries Are Exploring CBDCs

Mastercard’s initiative arises as many countries contemplate the transition to digital versions of their national currencies via CBDCs.

Data from CBDC Tracker indicates that 114 countries, accounting for over 95% of the world’s GDP, are actively investigating the adoption of CBDCs.

Additionally, over ten nations have rolled out pilot projects for CBDCs. Notably, countries such as the Bahamas, Cambodia, China, and Nigeria already have functioning CBDCs.

In a significant move last July, Russian President Vladimir Putin formally approved a bill that will pave the way for a digital rendition of Russia’s national currency.

The approved bill grants permission for the Russian central bank to initiate CBDC testing from August 1 onwards.

Interestingly, the United States stands out as one of the few nations that hasn’t publicly committed to launching a consumer-oriented digital currency. That said, it has progressed with the development of a wholesale CBDC intended for interbank transactions.

On the other hand, Mastercard has consistently championed blockchain technology.

In May, the global payment leader recognized the potential of both cryptocurrency and blockchain, suggesting they could greatly benefit the financial sector. However, the company stressed the importance of addressing security and user-friendliness to foster trust.

In the previous year, Mastercard introduced Start Path Crypto, a global initiative aimed at assisting startups in the blockchain, cryptocurrency, and digital asset sectors to achieve growth.

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I want to save money. Will cryptocurrency work?

Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

Every cryptocurrency has two main components: the units of digital exchange called “coins” and the network within which the exchange takes place. These units can be transferred between wallets and exchanged on exchanges. The networks in which these coins exist are called blockchains, which translates to “chains of blocks.”

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