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Mastercard Launches CBDC Partner Program

Mastercard Launches CBDC Partner Program

(18 August 2023 - Global) Mastercard has put together a central bank digital currency partner program comprised of firms from across the ecosystem, including Ripple and Consensys.

The vast majority of central banks are engaged in some form of work on CBDCs, and four retail versions are already in full live circulation, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

In 2020, Mastercard built a virtual testing platform to help central banks assess and explore national digital currencies. Since then the firm has worked with several central banks on pilots.

However, Jesse McWaters, who leads global regulatory advocacy at Mastercard, says that there are questions about the role of the private sector in CBDC issuance, security, privacy and interoperability.

These include how a CBDC works with other commonly used payment mechanisms, what specific challenges they would solve and whether they’re even the right tool for the job.

Now, Mastercard is looking to help answer some of these questions by fostering industry collaboration through its new partner program, which includes Fluency, Idemia, Consult Hyperion, Giesecke+Devrient and Fireblocks.

Their efforts include Fluency’s work to build interoperability among different CBDCs, Consult Hyperion’s work with central banks and payment processors to define their CBDC requirements and Ripple’s launch of an inaugural government-issued national stablecoin in collaboration with the Republic of Palau.

Raj Dhamodharan, head, digital assets and blockchain, Mastercard, says: "We believe in payment choice and that interoperability across the different ways of making payments is an essential component of a flourishing economy,

"As we look ahead toward a digitally driven future, it will be essential that the value held as a CBDC is as easy to use as other forms of money."

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