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When asked what he thinks of cryptocurrencies during a recent interview hosted by Fortune’s Alan Murray, Banga said,
“Central bank digital currencies are really interesting. Stable coins a little less so. Bitcoin, not really.”
Banga’s comments, on the other hand, are not out of the ordinary, since the executive has long been a critic of the world’s largest cryptocurrency. For eg, at the virtual Fortune Global Forum in October, he mocked Bitcoin’s instability.
“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 reality, he has referred to cryptocurrencies that are not under the jurisdiction of governments as “junk” due to their volatile existence. It’s also worth recalling that Mastercard ended its relationship with the Libra Organization in February, owing to regulatory burdens imposed on the Facebook-based initiative.
Although his dislike for Bitcoin is well founded, the Mastercard CEO has not shied away from legitimising his opinions on CBDCs and stablecoins. CBDCs, according to Banga, could be best fit for increasing global financial inclusion. Indeed, Mastercard recently launched a forum for checking CBDCs in a simulated world, which has already assisted many banks in assessing and exploring national digital currencies.
Banga and Mastercard’s positions on stablecoins have also remained consistent, with a blog published by the payment service leader’s newsroom site saying,
“To be completely clear, not all of today’s cryptocurrencies will be supported on our network. While stable coins 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.”
Surprisingly, Mastercard’s archrival Visa has taken a radically different approach to Blockchain. On a Fortune podcast earlier this month, CEO Al Kelly announced that Visa plans to allow transactions of the top cryptocurrency, referring to it as “digital gold.”