Mastercard, already an ally of Facebook’s Libra, announced it’s in the midst of planning its own cryptocurrency team, the New York Post reported on Saturday (Aug. 17).
The move is in line with Mastercard’s goal of being known as a technology company “more than a card company,” Ted Rossman, an analyst with CreditCards.com, told the NYP.
It’s “a smart move,” another card expert told the paper.
Mastercard Senior Vice President Seth Eisen said Mastercard is always on the lookout to create new value.
“Looking at blockchains and cryptocurrencies is part of these activities,” he told the NYP.
Recruitment ads for Mastercard are targeting potential employees who are interested in the “cutting-edge intersection of payments and cryptocurrencies.” New hires will “monitor cryptocurrency ecosystem trends” and “develop new products and solutions.”
Mastercard “sees there’s a lot of activity in this area,” Bill Hardekopf, chief executive of LowCards.com, told the NYP. “Even if it isn’t going to offer its own cryptocurrency, they know it’s important to have people who understand the subject.”
Facebook’s Libra has attracted numerous big investors as well as a lot of attention. A founding Libra investor, Mastercard joins Visa, PayPal, Uber, Coinbase, Lyft, Vodafone, eBay and Spotify.
“As you know, we’ve been looking at blockchain for quite a while, understanding the technology standards, doing pilots with banks and filing a number of patents,” Jorn Lambert, executive vice president of Digital Solutions at Mastercard told Karen Webster in a conversation at the end of June. “We absolutely think stablecoins will play a role in our future, that is [what] we have invested in over the years.”
What Mastercard sees in Libra in its embryonic stages, Lambert said, is a novel way of combining a cryptocurrency with a private governing body and structure to create something potentially stable and ubiquitous enough to be used for payments worldwide.