Crypto Is an Asset Class, Not Payment Instrument, Says Mastercard’s CFO

Sachin Mehra – Chief Financial Officer of Mastercard – believes cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ether, are still too volatile to be classified as an appropriate payment instrument. On the other hand, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and stablecoins could potentially fit in that role.

Many executives of the payment services giant have displayed a pro-crypto stance over the recent past, while the company inked numerous partnerships that enabled digital asset solutions to users.

Crypto is an Asset Class, Not a Payment Tool

Mastercard’s CFO – Sachin Mehra – is yet another top director at the global technology firm who believes in crypto’s bright future. In a recent interview for Bloomberg, he argued that digital currencies could aid the shift from cash to electronic forms of settlement.

“If you think about it globally, there’s still a ton of cash which remains to be electronified,” he maintained.

Despite outlining the merits of bitcoin and the alternative coins, Mehra thinks they are still too volatile to act as payment instruments employed by consumers on daily purchases:

“If something fluctuates in value every day, such that your Starbucks coffee today costs you $3 and tomorrow it’s going to cost you $9, and the day after it’s going to cost you a dollar, that’s a problem from a consumer-mindset standpoint.”

Sachin Mehra, Source: Mastercard

Having that said, the executive classified crypto as an asset class, while CBDCs and stablecoins could “potentially have a little bit more runway” and serve as payment tools.

Issued and fully controlled by central banks, CBDCs will be a digital version of government-backed fiat money. Being under such supervision, those financial products will have a highly centralized nature, and sharp price swings are not expected.

For their part, stablecoins are tokens whose value is fixed to another asset, often major fiat currencies (such as the US dollar) or precious metals (like gold). Some examples include the third and the fourth biggest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization – USDT and USDC – which are both pegged to the greenback.

Crypto Does not Pose a Threat

Not long ago, Mastercard’s Global Head of crypto and blockchain – Raj Dhamodharan – opined that digital currencies could not harm investors “at all.” Moreover, he claimed that they are a “package of multiple technologies,” which makes their nature unique. From an investor’s point of view, he thinks they are “probably the most mature” investment tool.

Dhamodharan particularly highlighted bitcoin’s advantages. To him, the primary digital asset is much more than just a currency:

“Bitcoin is not just about the currency. It’s also about the chain. It’s also about the cryptology behind it and the decentralization and all that.”

He also spoke highly of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), calling them a “great invention,” as they rank as the “next mature investment asset class” after cryptocurrencies.

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