August 14, 2022

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Mastercard gets deeper into crypto with new consulting practice

Mastercard has strengthened its consulting division (“Data and Services”) with a new crypto and digital currency-focused practice, alongside new consulting practices in open banking, open data, and ESG.

Mastercard’s Data and Services arm will expand outwards from its payments consulting focus to help businesses tackle broader issues in open banking and data, sustainability, and crypto. The firm says it has already completed numerous consulting engagements across all these areas.

Mastercard plans to add 500 college graduates and young professionals to its consulting division, which launched two decades ago and has approximately 2,000 people who work with financial services, retail, telecom, and travel companies in more than 70 countries. The firm says one of its central strengths is its vast stores of transactions data to help clients make informed decisions.

“Payments are just the beginning,” says Raj Seshadri, president of Data and Services, Mastercard. “This evolution of consulting is in recognition of the changing world and of our changing business. It’s about helping customers navigate today’s challenges and anticipating what’s next.”

The crypto practice’s advisory offerings will span early-stage education, risk assessment, bank-wide crypto and NFT strategy development, crypto cards, and crypto loyalty programs. Mastercard says it has already worked with central banks to explore the design and development of central bank digital currency (CBDC) using its testing platform.

The global payments firm announced that it will this year begin supporting select cryptocurrencies on its network. Previously, crypto card partners such as Wirex and BitPay would have digital assets converted to traditional currencies before entering the Mastercard network.

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According to Raj Dhamodharan, EVP of digital asset and blockchain products and partnerships, Mastercard will be prudent about what cryptocurrencies it accepts onto its network. Many stablecoins still lack the compliance measures necessary to meet the firm’s requirements, according to Dhamodharan.

Rival payments firm Visa launched its own crypto consulting practice a couple of months ago.