Screen shot of Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Banga on CNBC, March 29, 2019.
Technology

Mastercard, Bank of America CEOs leery of blockchain

While still interested the distributed ledger technology, the finance leaders called blockchain’s use case unproven

The CEOs of Mastercard and Wells Fargo echoed skeptical comments on the utility of blockchain technology made earlier this week by Bank of America’s head of technology. Speaking to CNBC on March 28, Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said that while ignoring blockchain would be a “bad idea,” the technology has been “way oversold.” Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Banga added that blockchain technology has “interesting possibilities,” but said that “the business model is not proven.”

Their opinion, that blockchain needs to find a successful use case, echoes comments made also on CNBC two days before by Bank of America’s Chief Operations and Technology Officer Cathy Bessant.

While calling herself “open minded,” Bessant noted that “[a]ll of the big tech companies will come and say ‘blockchain, blockchain, blockchain.’ I say, ‘Show me the use case. You bring me the use case and I’ll try it.’”

Still, Bank of America has been very aggressive in pursuing the technology, racking up 82 patents approved or submitted, the most of any major financial institution. Mastercard is third on that list, and Banga said he is “deeply invested” in several blockchain projects.

On the same day that Bessant made her comments, research firm Research and Markets released a report predicting that blockchain spending will grow from $3.1 billion today to more than $41 billion in 2025.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson owns no cryptocurrencies.

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