In an open letter on February 15th, Mastercard revealed that it’s bolstering its Data & Services division to include crypto consulting.
The new aim will focus on delivering top-quality insights to banks and merchants — including fintech companies — to “cover a range of digital currency capabilities” such as early-stage education, risk assessments, and bank-wide crypto and non-fungible token (NFT) strategy and development. Also mentioned were the use and implementation of crypto cards and crypto loyalty reward programs.
The letter indicates that the Data & Services division is a talent incubator. The goal is to hire 500 new graduates and young professionals into the Division to help execute initiatives and various operations. Bloomberg reports that the Division has grown considerably in terms of influence. It now accounts for over a third of its revenue compared to much less a decade ago.
Raj Seshadri, the president of the Data & Services division, noted that the team’s expansion was necessary to help consumers work through the complexities and challenges of the modern financial system. According to Seshadri, the evolution of Mastercard’s consulting is in “recognition” of a changing world and changing economic conditions.
One cited Mastercard consulting project is the implementation of central bank digital currency, a topic that is hot with controversy given how some countries are planning to design their coins and the privacy issues that might result.
Payment Processors Ape into Web 3.0 with Pending Results
Creating a crypto consulting team is not Mastercard’s first foray into Web 3.0 technology. Since 2021, the company has been involved in two significant projects, including integrating credit card payments into Coinbase’s much-anticipated NFT marketplace. It has also worked with ConsenSys on an Ethereum blockchain-related project.
Visa, as well, has not been shy about its interest in Web 3.0. During one of the NFT bull runs in 2021, Visa purchased a CryptoPunk, adding it to its collection of digital artifacts. At the time, the news galvanized an already hot NFT market, sending shockwaves through NFT Twitter.
Integrating credit card usage into crypto and NFTs is still a challenge. Although buying NFTs with a credit card is not unheard of, it is still rare. However, this may change with the introduction of credit cards into NFT marketplaces, paving the way for individuals to own NFTs without trading cryptocurrency.
How Mastercard’s new crypto consulting aim will manifest itself is still unknown at this point. However, it may have a significant impact given that Mastercard is used throughout much of the world and has worked with teams on different continents.