Mastercard stated on Tuesday that it will enhance its consultancy services to assist businesses and institutions in better understanding the changing digital asset and financial landscape. To help with the new projects, the corporation plans to hire 500 college grads and young professionals.
The company seeks to make it easier for banks and merchants to use digital assets such as bitcoin and NFTs, according to the press release.
NFT and digital currency risk assessment will be among the new consulting categories, which will aid in the formulation of effective strategies for crypto credit cards and crypto loyalty programs.
“Mastercard has curated partnerships with digitally native firms that offer best-of-breed solutions in cryptocurrencies and has helped fintechs expand into new markets, working through go-to-market planning and commercialization strategies,” the company said in the release.
Given how vocal Mastercard has been about its support for cryptocurrencies, the announcement is hardly surprising.
Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach stated during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call that the bitcoin ecosystem will be supported in 2022. He also announced a collaboration with Coinbase that will allow users to buy NFTs without first purchasing Ethereum (ETH) or having a digital wallet. When Coinbase starts its NFT marketplace, Mastercard clients will most likely be able to do so, though no date is set.
Another developing industry in the United States is open banking, which involves financial institutions and third-party financial service providers sharing access to customers’ financial data. Open banking is used by some cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Coinbase, to make integrating a bank account with the exchange easier.
Mastercard wants to leverage its “data-driven insights, advisory, and product development services” to assist businesses correctly use open banking and establish practical strategies.
“This evolution of consulting is in recognition of the changing world and of our changing business. It’s about helping customers navigate today’s challenges and anticipating what’s next,” said Raj Seshadri, president of Data & Services at Mastercard, in the press release.
Open banking could make it easier to move money across banks, better match customers to financial products, and offer better loan conditions based on more complete reports of customers’ financial situations. Thanks to a connected financial network, it might also mean greater fraud monitoring for small enterprises.
It is, however, not without risk. According to FICO, this could increase the risk of data breaches and insider threats such as data-screen scraping.