MasterCard’s Ajay Banga Thinks Cryptocurrency is “Junk”: When Will He Learn?


MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga is clearly not a fan of cryptocurrencies. Last year, the Indian-born CEO made headlines across the cryptocurrency community for calling cryptocurrencies “junk”. Today, Banga repeated his favorite word, calling cryptocurrencies junk at an event in New York.

Speaking in New York, Banga argues that cryptocurrencies are “junk” because they’re unqualified to be a medium of exchange. They’re volatile, they’re anonymous, and they’re used for illegal activity.

“I think cryptocurrency is junk…The idea of an anonymized currency produced by people who have to mine it, the value of which can fluctuate wildly – that to me is tot the way that any medium of exchange deserves to be considered a medium of exchange,” Banga said during the event, as reported by CNBC TV 18.

Banga was responding to a question about cryptocurrencies during an event called the “New India Lecture”. That event was organized by the Indian Consulate in New York City.

As additional evidence cryptocurrencies are “junk”, the MasterCard CEO mentioned how they’re used to facilitate illegal activity. Banga brought up the recent indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers who meddled in the 2016 elections in an effort to elect Donald Trump. The indictment documents famously mentioned how the officers used bitcoin during their efforts to rig the country’s elections.

This isn’t the first time Banga has taking a strong stance against cryptocurrencies. In October 2017, for example, Banga described all “non-government mandated” digital currencies as “junk”.

Banga Supports Centralized Cryptocurrencies – Not Decentralized Cryptocurrencies

It’s not all bad news regarding MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga. In all his discussions on cryptocurrencies, Banga takes issue with decentralized digital currencies. He does not, however, have a problem with centralized digital currencies – like ones released by a government or a central bank.

Cryptocurrency purists will tell you that this defeats the point of cryptocurrencies. Alternative thinkers, however, claim this is the future of the industry. Banga isn’t an ardent supporter of cryptocurrencies, but he does find the concept interesting, particularly in regards to how MasterCard could implement it into their business:

“If the government creates digital currency, we will find a way to be in the game. We will provide rails for moving currency from customer to merchant. The government mandated digital currencies are interesting. Non-government mandated currency is junk,” said Banga back in October 2017.

If you read between the lines, Banga is indicating that MasterCard could be interested in implementing government-issued digital currencies into its platform.

MasterCard is the World’s Most Prolific Blockchain Patent Filer

It’s easy to see MasterCard as being against digital currencies based solely on Banga’s statements. However, that’s far from the case. In fact, MasterCard is the world’s leading filer of blockchain patents.

As reported by the Financial Times in March 2018, MasterCard has filed more blockchain patents than any other organization. The Financial Times cited data from the World Intellectual Property Organization, which revealed MasterCard has filed 25 blockchain-related patents between 2012 and 2017.

MasterCard’s most recent patents have included a blockchain-based coupon authentication system and a travel itinerary bidding system. Last week, MasterCard won a patent allowing cryptocurrency to link with fiat currency accounts, which could pave the way for using crypto to make daily purchases – say, using MasterCard’s payment network as a medium of exchange.

Ultimately, MasterCard takes issue with anonymous, decentralized cryptocurrencies, and the CEO’s recent statements are more evidence of that stance. However, if you dig a little further, MasterCard appears to be one of the biggest supporters of blockchain technology.

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