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Mastercard executive: Bitcoin is too volatile to be part of our network

Payment giant Mastercard made headlines in early February after announcing its plan to start allowing cryptocurrencies on its network. The company said it is planning to allow its merchants to be able to accept cryptocurrency payments later this year. Now a company executive has hinted that Bitcoin may not be on the plan as we expected.

“Bitcoin does not behave like a payment instrument, it is very volatile and takes a long time to make transactions,” said Ann Cairn, executive vice president of Mastercard at the Future of Money conference on February 25.

“If you and I were to have a coffee and, you know, I decided to pay with bitcoin, our coffee could cost me, I don’t know, 40% more when it was served – and it takes 10 minutes to actually settle the transaction,” she said.

Prior to assuming the role of executive vice president of Mastercard, Cairns was president of international markets, managing all customer-related activities worldwide.

She is also chairman of ICE Clear Europe, global co-chairman of the 30% Club, chairman of the Financial Alliance for Women and member of the UK government’s AI board. The executive said it is better to “think of bitcoin as gold”, or as an asset class, rather than a form of payments.

This suggests that the way Mastercard will deal with cryptocurrency on its platform is only in custody, and not as an ordinary wallet or payments application.

That is, according to the company’s statement, users will be able to make payments with cryptocurrencies on the Mastercard network, but given the executive’s opinion, it is possible to understand that users will be able to store cryptocurrencies with Mastercard, but the payment will be made through another currency.

Mastercard said earlier this month that it wanted to help buyers and merchants make transactions on a “totally new” form of payment. It remains unclear what the “totally new” means, but it could be a stablecoin or even a digital currency from Mastercard itself, which would make sense.

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