Could this signal the era of mainstream industry adoption?
Instead of resisting change and maligning the cryptocurrency industry in a desperate attempt to cling on to their longstanding market dominance, it seems central banks can turn to the old adage as it still applies to today’s fintech survival: if you can’t beat them, join them.
MasterCard just announced at the Money 20/20 Hackathon in Las Vegas that their blockchain-based cross-border payment system, MasterCard Blockchain API, is now open for the public. Businesses can now enjoy near real-time international transactions for very low fees, thanks to the technology’s capabilities mixed with MasterCard’s existing infrastructure. They have also made the API’s available for the public to build on, subject to their patent’s application. They also have an ongoing IP application for developments they are working on with the Enterprise Distributed server processing system Ethereum Alliance.
“By combining Mastercard blockchain technology with our settlement network and associated network rules, we have created a solution that is safe, secure, auditable and easy to scale,” said Ken Moore, executive vice president of Mastercard Labs, in the release. “When it comes to payments, we want to provide choice and flexibility to our partners where they are able to seamlessly use both our existing and new payment rails based on the needs and requirements of their customers.”
MasterCard is the second Fortune 500 company to announce their blockchain application within a week. Last week, tech giant IBM announced that they are utilizing blockchain startup Stellar’s cryptocurrency, called lumens (XLM), for its cross-border payments system. IBM, along with a network of banks, have started to move funds across Australia, New Zealand, as well as Fiji and Tonga. They plan to use the blockchain for 60% of all cross-border foeign exchange transactions in the South Pacific by early next year.
This year could finally signal the dawn of mainstream, industry-wide adoption for blockchains. Earlier this month, Swedish commercial bank SEB said they have been transferring $180 million between Sweden and the US through blockchain-based payment provider Ripple. And over 100 companies followed suit.