Mastercard Had An Outage, So Crypto Had a Field Day

Mastercard suffered an outage last week that led to a hold-up for some transactions – and crypto supporters on social media quickly pounced.

Jul 22, 2018 at 11:40 a.m. UTCUpdated May 2, 2022 at 3:56 p.m. UTC
Jul 22, 2018 at 11:40 a.m. UTCUpdated May 2, 2022 at 3:56 p.m. UTC

Payments giant Mastercard suffered a severe outage last week that led to a hold-up in transactions.

As reported on July 12 by the Financial Times, it had a global impact, sparking a round of complaints from the payment firm's customer base.

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As might be expected, those affected quickly took to social media to voice their frustration with the credit card giant, which eventually was able to resolve the situation and resume service for its customers.

In most cases, that would have been the end of the story. This time, however, Crypto Twitter took notice, and that made all the difference for what was likely a hectic day for the credit card giant's press team.

In fact, the company's Twitter threads soon filled up with comments from cryptocurrency supporters and enthusiasts, who were all too eager to point out the perceived benefits of their preferred payments rail.

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What could be considered an inevitable question was eventually posed: why isn't Mastercard using bitcoin?

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To be sure, the payments firm has very publicly moved to explore and test applications of blockchain, even going so far as trying to hire more developers to work on the tech. And as CoinDesk has reported, Mastercard is seeking a number of patents around cryptocurrency use (including one it won this week) – a suggestion, if anything, that the idea is on its radar.

But even still, critics of the company argued amid the outage that Mastercard will face a "huge rival" from either bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.

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Supporters of specific cryptocurrencies also came out to heckle the payments giant, including supporters of XRP and the technology developed by distributed ledger startup Ripple, and those backing the cryptocurrency Dash (formerly known as darkcoin). 

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But would the utilization of blockchain or cryptocurrency have prevented the situation Mastercard found itself in?

Journalist David Cox tackled the question in an article for PaymentsSource, arguing that existing blockchain tech would likely be infeasible for Mastercard's present needs.

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Whether the technology as applied to Mastercard could have helped is perhaps an open question, but nonetheless, the situation was an opportunity for the crypto faithful to throw a little shade the company's way.

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Image via Shutterstock

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