Blockchain has turned into one of the most promising and well-funded technologies in 2015. The fact that MasterCard invested in Digital Currency Group surprised many of us, as the company used to adhere to the opinion that risks presented by digital currencies outweigh the benefits. As a reminder, Digital Currency Group is a bitcoin company that believes in digital currencies and distributed ledgers.
To set the record straight, Garry Lyons, Chief Innovation Officer of MasterCard, gave an interview to Business Insider at the World Economic Forum and made it clear that his company is “very, very interested” in the blockchain. However it doesn’t want to be “blindsided” and treats the technology more cautiously than its market counterparts.
“Like the rest of the world, we’re interested in seeing where blockchain technology goes and that’s why we invested in DCG,” he said. “The primary reason [we invested in DCG] is that it’s connected to 15 different others and they have their fingers in the right pies, so we’ve got the right engagement right now to see people experimenting with the underlying tech.”
Underlining the potential of the blockchain, Lyons talks about reasonable approach of MasterCard to the innovation. “It’s not just the industry that’s excited about blockchain — it’s the world, everyone. Even at Davos, every single tech panel I have gone to mentions blockchain and some people call it ‘the second coming.’ But while we think it’s very interesting, we don’t want to, and no one wants to, be blindsided by rushing into it [as the technology is still developing].”
Blockchain is attracting many financial institutions in the hope of transactions enhancement. R3 consortium united 42 banks in order to study the technology and has recently tested a system intended to apply blockchain for making trading much faster and cheaper. 11 banks from four continents used their own computer and transferred “Ether” to each other – Ethereum’s equivalent of bitcoin. The transactions were settled almost instantaneously. To compare, traditionally banks need several days for settlement, depending on the asset class.
MasterCard also doesn’t want to stop the evolution of payment system. It is planning pilot programs across Europe intended to promote installment payments instead of monthly lump sums. Shoppers will be encouraged to select a payment method for each or all of their items, and MasterCard will take care of the rest. Thus the payment giant strives to appeal to a new generation of credit card users.
“Today, everyone is looking for a smarter way to shop. Consumers want flexible payment solutions that will help them fulfill their needs, while maintaining a better control over their budget,” said Andrew Buckley, head of core products in Europe.
MasterCard has also partnered with mobile wallet player FreeCharge to launch new virtual card ‘FreeCharge Go.’ It offers universal payments of the app online and offline through a prepaid virtual card.
FreeCharge Go is secured with 128-bit encryption and stored as per PCI DSS compliance. FreeCharge users see a 16-digit number with an associated CVV in their account. Owner can get an access to the card only after entering security MPIN. As an additional security measure, every transaction requires verification by an OTP which is sent to the registered mobile number.
We would like to remind that only now you have a great possibility to get a free virtual debit card or enter into a $100 drawing for free bitcoin from E-coin. All you have to do is to take part in the survey conducted by the company. It is intended to better understand customers and continue to improve the service. E-coin is much more than just a bitcoin debit card. Leading bitcoin debit card provider is constantly adding new services to make it easier to buy/sell and use bitcoin.