Mastercard is forming a partnership program with seven prominent blockchain and payment technology providers to “bring a greater understanding of the benefits and limitations” of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), it announced Aug. 17. 

Mastercard did not share specific plans for the group, but it mentioned many current buzzwords in the CBDC sphere — security, privacy, interoperability, private sector, driving innovation and efficiencies, for example. Mastercard head of digital assets and blockchain Raj Dhamodharan said in the statement:

“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.”

The Mastercard program will bring together companies that have already contributed to CBDC development in various ways. It will include Ripple, which recently introduced a dedicated CBDC platform, software company ConsenSys, which has worked on several CBDC projects, and tokenized assets solution provider Fluency, which is involved in 23 CBDC projects.

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Participant Giesecke+Devrient has its own CBDC solution and has worked with the central banks of Ghana and Thailand on CBDC projects. Idemia specializes in offline payments and has participated in a CBDC project with a Japanese payment service. Consult Hyperion also works with central banks on offline payment solutions. The group is rounded out by institutional custody platform Fireblocks.

Countries where Mastercard is exploring CBDCs. Source: Mastercard

Mastercard has been active in the crypto space for years but has pulled back from it recently. The company has shown strong support for CBDCs and participated in projects with the Bank for International Settlements and the New York Federal Reserve Bank, as well as with individual central banks.

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