"The difficult part is adoption," Ashok Venkateshwaran said on the sidelines of the Singapore FinTech festival on Wednesday. "So if you have CBDCs in your wallet, you should have the ability for you to spend it anywhere you want – very similar to cash today."
The payments giant has a CBDC Partner Program that includes participants such as Ripple, Fireblocks and Consensys. The move was designed to encourage conversations among key players in the industry, but was seen as a way for Mastercard (MA) to deepen its involvement with CBDC developments as the number of nations exploring the technology grows. As many as 130 countries, representing 98% of global gross domestic product, are exploring a CBDC, according to the Atlantic Council. In May 2020, only 35 countries were considering one. Still, only 11 countries have so far introduced a digital currency.
For the time being, it's hard to justify the effort, he said. Building the necessary infrastructure "takes a lot of time and effort on a part of the country."
Last week, Mastercard completed Hong Kong's CBDC Pilot focused on demonstrating how CBDCs or tokenized deposits can be used for real-world asset transactions. "The pilot also showcased the potential for seamless funding and settlement in and out of Web3 marketplaces via a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC)."
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish, a cryptocurrency exchange, which in turn is owned by Block.one, a firm with interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets including bitcoin and EOS. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.