Mastercard CEO calls cryptocurrencies “junk” despite numerous blockchain patents


CEO of MasterCard Ajay Banga has condemned cryptocurrencies once again, calling them “junk” during a 6th New India lecture in New York.

At the lecture, Banga claimed that the volatile nature of digital currencies goes against what a legal exchange should be, saying:

I think cryptocurrency is junk. The idea of an anonymized currency produced by people who have to mine it, the value of which can fluctuate wildly – that to me is not the way that any medium of exchange deserves to be considered as a medium of exchange”.

Referring to the fact that Bitcoin was used in the indictment of twelve intelligence officers in Russia in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, Banga lashed at cryptocurrency because of its ‘anonymous’ nature. He likened to a snake, saying:

“Why civil society would like to put a snake in its backyard and think that somehow the snake will only bite my neighbor, I don’t get it”.

Banga’s strong approach against cryptocurrency comes as a surprise considering the dealings that MasterCard has with blockchain technology and the most recent patent which was awarded which will see cryptocurrencies linked with fiat accounts.

This is not the first blockchain patent which Banga’s company explored, and previously MasterCard detailed the interest it had in leveraging blockchain technology for uses such as “disclosure [related] to the storage and verification and identity and credential data” with special use of distributed storage “for protection of identity and credential data and the verification thereof.”

At the time, this in itself comes as a shock considering the fact that MasterCard had gone on record to state that it would potentially support using cryptocurrencies but only if the digital currencies were backed by the state – in order words it would not support a decentralized digital currency. Although sort of sentiment seems closer to Banga’s accusations that digital currencies are “junk”, it still doesn’t align with the company’s interest in exploring the use of digital currencies.

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