December 1, 2020

Mastercard builds platform to pilot central bank digital currencies

LONDON (Reuters) – Mastercard MA.N is creating a platform to help central banks “virtually” test how digital currencies could be developed and used, the payments company said on Wednesday.

Facebook’s FB.N Libra multi-currency backed stablecoin proposal prompted central banks to look at whether they could launch digital versions of their currencies.

“This new platform supports central banks as they make decisions now and in the future about the path forward for local and regional economies,” said Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president for digital asset and blockchain products at Mastercard said in a statement.

The platform enables the simulation of issuance, distribution and exchange of central bank digital currencies between banks, financial service providers and consumers, Mastercard said.

Controlled regulatory environments are already being used by start-ups to test new payments services from fintech companies.

Central banks are still in the early stages of looking at potential digital currencies, with the Bank of England calling last week for global rules to be put in place before stablecoins are launched.

Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jason Neely

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