Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga gives CBDCs an edge over Bitcoin
Bitcoin is winning over the hearts and minds of many of its former critics. But Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga remains unenthusiastic about the red-hot cryptocurrency.
Banga recently told Fortune’s Alan Murray that he was not particularly interested in Bitcoin, giving preference to central bank digital currencies and stablecoins:
Central bank digital currencies are really interesting. Stablecoins a little less so. Bitcoin, not really.
Banga has repeatedly attacked Bitcoin in the past. As reported by U.Today, he said that the volatile cryptocurrency could not be used as a tool for financial inclusion last year:
Can you imagine someone who is financially excluded trading in a way to get included through a currency that could cost the equivalent of two Coca-Cola bottles today and 21 tomorrow? That’s not a way to get them [included]. That’s a way to make them scared of the financial system.
In 2017, Banga called Bitcoin-like cryptocurrencies “junk” because of their mercurial nature and illicit use cases.
At the same time, Banga has been touting CBDCs for years, claiming that they are a much better option for banking the unbanked.
No, Bitcoin will not be on the Mastercard network
In a blog post published this February, Mastercard said that it would support select cryptocurrencies on its network. So far, it appears that it only relates to stablecoins:
To be completely clear, not all of today’s cryptocurrencies will be supported on our network. While stablecoins are more regulated and reliable than in the recent past, many of the hundreds of digital assets in circulation still need to tighten their compliance measures, so they won’t meet our requirements.
Even though CNN ran an article about Mastercard allowing merchants to accept Bitcoin, the company’s vice chair, Ann Cairns, later clarified that it was not the case:
Bitcoin doesn’t behave like a payment instrument. It’s too volatile and it takes too long to transact.
Visa takes a pro-Bitcoin stance
Notably, Visa, the global leader in payments technology, is taking an almost polar-opposite approach to Bitcoin. CEO Al Kelly recently revealed that Visa planned to enable purchases of the top cryptocurrency, calling it “digital gold” on a Fortune podcast earlier this month.