Mastercard

MasterCard Interested In Blockchain But Doesn’t Want To Be “Blindsided”

MasterCard is looking to stay ahead of the curve by refusing to rush into integrating blockchain technology into their business model.

Citing concerns regarding regulation, investment and security, MasterCard Chief Innovation Officer Garry Lyons stated why he didn’t want MasterCard to be “blindsided” by block chain in his comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland:

“It’s not just the industry that’s excited about blockchain — it’s the world, everyone. Even at Davos, every single tech panel I have gone to mentions blockchain and some people call it ‘the second coming.’ But while we think it’s very interesting, we don’t want to, and no one wants to, be blindsided by rushing into it [as the technology is still developing].”

Despite an apprehensive tinge to the remarks made by Lyons, it’s clear that MasterCard will not be left on the sidelines of emerging cryptocurrency and block chain technology trends as they have already invested in the Bitcoin-related company Digital Currency Group (DCG).

Other financial behemoths, specifically Visa, NASDAQ and Barclays have appeared less inhibited about embracing block chain technology and are setting the pace to innovate towards the future. Visa’s excitement about payment innovation seems to be what is driving them towards adoption, however even in a 2015 year-end blog post regarding Bitcoin and block chain, their eyes were still set on challenges surrounding “real world scenarios, such as sending money overseas.”

Lyons also commented on the consortium of 11 banks experimenting with block chain through Ethereum already through R3 saying,

“R3 is an interesting way of doing that because it brings several interested parties together to experiment with underlying tech. It’s a good opportunity for the banks and there’s more chance of block chain technology succeeding as a group than disparate parties.”

It’s nothing but encouraging that block chain is even a discussion topic for such a senior member of a financial giant such as MasterCard. While a public-facing hesitancy against integrating block chain technology too quickly and broadly might seem to some enthusiasts as a frustrating circumstance, it’s clear that Lyons’ statements here are simply a result of an inquisitive mind mitigating risk. In an industry that is famous for doing little else, how could anyone be surprised?

2016 just might be the year that one of the bigger financial companies not only disrupts the market with a new application of blockchain, but also rakes in huge profits for its shareholders due to cost-cutting efficiency associated with their early moves.

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