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Mastercard Joins Forces With R3 to Create Cross-Border Payments Ecosystem

September 11, 2019
Ross Peili


Mastercard Joins Forces With R3 to Create Cross-Border Payments Ecosystem

NEW YORK – Today on September 11th, fintech giant Mastercard and enterprise-level blockchain firm R3 mutually announced a strategic partnership between the two parties, aiming to develop and test a distributed ledger system for cross-border payments, in order to connect global payments infrastructure, banks, and the broader Mastercard network, by increasing transactions speed with integrity and security.

Both companies have excessive networks when it comes to top-shelf fintech and telco firms, central banks, financial regulators, and governmental bodies, who either are using Mastercard’s payments network and/or services or R3’s Corda ecosystem, which provides blockchain solutions to the private sector.

The move as described by Buffett’s BusinessWire financial outlet is expected to deliver “increasingly innovative, value-add services for customers, addressing factors such as high processing overheads, liquidity management and the existing lack of standardization and processes between banks and domestic clearing systems.”

This is just the latest play by Mastercard, that attempts not only to maintain its position as a global payments giant but also to increase its presence in the digital payments spectrum, utilizing blockchain technology only a few companies could deliver.

Considering R3’s existing clients, which include the Bank of America, HSBC, and ING to mention a few, we’re not talking just about Bitcoin here.

“Our goal is to deliver global payment infrastructure choice and connectivity as demonstrated through our recent strategic acquisitions and partnerships, including our relationship with R3.”  says Peter Klein, executive vice president of New Payment Platforms at Mastercard. 

It is not the first time Mastercard invests effort, and money to enter, if not lead, the digital payments sphere. Just a click behind, Mastercard is one of the key founding members of the Libra Association, the governing body of Facebook’s own cryptocurrency Libra. 

R3 shouldn’t be a surprise when it comes to Mastercard’s blockchain arsenal. 

Similar to IBM, R3, while not very popular among traditional blockchain and cryptocurrency circles, is a company that works behind the scenes, offering top-grade blockchain solutions for some of the most prolific organizations on the globe.

Just last year, R3 was considered to be on the edge of bankruptcy, yet the US company managed not only to get out of the moving sand, but it also expanded its operations in the EU region, settling for a second office in London, and a brand new unit in Dublin, which is supposed to utilize the local talent, exceeding in software engineering. 

Some believe that R3 got out of the corner due to its deep connections with several central banking institutions, while others claim the low-key court they had against Ripple over a contract generated in 2016, led to the sudden extra boost R3 was just looking for at that moment. 

Essentially the contract between the two entities made R3 eligible to buy Ripple’s native digital currency XRP at a fixed price until September 2019, as agreed in the contract. 

The later who was consciously a part of the contract tried to avoid the agreement, as during the big pump of the winter 2017/18, XRP would be bartering anywhere between x20 to x40 if compared to the fixed price agreed in the contract. 

Obviously, that was a lottery-like scenario for R3, offering extremely rare arbitrary options for the company, while it made Ripple officials chew their nails and back-off the contract. 

The court ended in favor of R3, and therefore, there is a high possibility the blockchain developer got the funds it needed to continue its operations, while Ripple’s price was indirectly forced to shrink, otherwise, the loss would be substantial if not devasting for the cryptocurrency issuer. 

Concluding, both R3 and Mastercard, are two companies that are not simply “involved in the financial sector”. They are both very mature strategically, acknowledging how the “deep-game” is being played, defining their respective roles, and always reacting with the best possible solution.  

We’ll be covering more on this new partnership in the future. For now, you can read our previous article about R3’s expansion in the Eurozone