Mastercard Pitches Scale and Acceleration to Crypto Startups at ETH Denver 2022

Mastercard

Mastercard was in recruitment mode for its Start Path group at ETH Denver last week with a pitch to attendees and their hot crypto companies. Partnership and building were the key themes by company representative Grace Berkery who is Program Manager, Fintech & Enablers – Digital Assets & Cryptocurrencies,

Mastercard announced its inaugural startup accelerator program in July and Berkery highlighted to the audience the vast resources of the traditional fintech company – and its $350 billion market cap – as well as its commitment to the blockchain and crypto space.

Recent blockchain-related announcements for Mastercard include:

    • In December, the company inked a deal with MetaMask developer ConsenSys to create a rollup offering on Ethereum mainnet for improved scalability. (see release).
    • During its January earnings conference call, the company said it was partnering with Coinbase to help facilitate the purchase of NFTs by consumers.
    • This month, Mastercard said it is expanding its digital consulting business, too (see release).

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Decentralization and Privacy Can Co-Exist on the Blockchain Says Privy CEO Stern

Henri Stern of Privy

With data flooding today’s blockchain infrastructure, speed and scalability have become an increasing bottleneck. Nevertheless, user privacy is a part of this equation and in the notoriously transparent world of blockchain, what’s a developer to do?

At ETH Denver 2022, Privy CEO Henri Stern – formerly of Filecoin – showed his hand on where his company will fit in as it looks to help blockchain developers thread the needle and maintain user privacy while continuing to offer improved decentralization and better user ownership.

For Privy, its API offering starts with effective management of user data off-chain by addressing compliance and infrastructure requirements. The company hopes that easy access to its API will somewhat relieve developer concern about the thorny thicket of user privacy and let them concentrate on their blockchain product and on chain mechanics.

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Blockchain Association Sees Challenges and Opportunity Ahead For Crypto at ETH Denver 2022

Kristin Smith of the Blockchain Association

Momentum in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry was on full display as ETH Denver 2022 pulsed in the Mile High city last week. Among the Saturday slate’s many presentations, Blockchain Association executive director Kristin Smith explained the state of the industry from her perch as she helps manage industry connections to DC policymakers.  

To begin, in addition to her work around DC-focused industry communications, Smith sketched out the Association’s org chart which includes key members such as Jake Chervinsky, the organization’s head of policy in DC, and a lobbying team which interacts directly with government policymakers across regulatory and legislative functions. 

As for challenges the blockchain industry is encountering today, there are many according to Smith. She identified several recent developments while remaining sanguine about the industry’s prospects overall saying, ”As an industry and ecosystem we are in a really strong place in Washington and our political power is only growing. If we continue to work together in a coordinated way, I think the policies are going to work out just fine.”

A selection of the recent developments

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NIST Digs In on Differential Privacy Definition at US Department of Commerce

NIST on Differential Privacy

In their 14th blog post on all aspects of differential privacy, researchers Joseph Near and David Darais offer another detailed post explaining the future work and current open challenges with the de-identification technology.

Near and Darais are moderators for the Privacy Engineering Collaboration Space with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a part of the US Department of Commerce.

According to the website, the Differential Privacy blog series is “designed to help business process owners and privacy program personnel understand basic concepts about differential privacy and applicable use cases and to help privacy engineers and IT professionals implement the tools.”

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Banque de France on the Central Bank CBDC and Privacy

Banque de France CBDC

Today’s presentation to the Blockchain NYC Meetup group reviewed the Banque de France‘s recent research on a Euro approach to a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Though still a couple of years away – at best – according to the Banque’s representatives, the central bank’s many moving parts offer opportunity with distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain.

Where CBDC product development mixes with privacy was a topic in the Q&A section of the presentation.

Light editing for clarity…

Jamiel Sheikh, Blockchain NYC meetup moderator

[A question from a professor], and this may be applicable to retail CBDC, how will Bank of France design of CBDC affect consumer privacy? How [do you] address the trade off between protecting consumer privacy and mitigating risks to financial integrity?

Adeline Bachellerie, Head of Digital Currency and Innovation, Banque de France

Your quick question if I understand right is about retail CBDC here. So yes, as you know, we are working within Euro system on the Investigation Phase for [muffled, perhaps “exterior”] which could be Central Bank digital money for retail purposes. So, we do that work in this investigation phase on CBDC for wholesale purposes.

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Many Assets To Be Identified Within NFT Framework says Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse

Brad Garlinghouse of Ripple

From crypto conference , CoinAgenda, in San Juan today, Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple (the former “peanut butter manifesto” maven of Yahoo!) provided an update on his company as well as thoughts on the coming tokenization wave of many assets.

Light editing for clarity…

On Ripple Performance in 2021

“The United States Securities Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Ripple on December 22. So almost a year ago, since that time Ripple has had a heroic 2021. Growth has been extremely strong in terms of our primary metric for success – payment transactions – and we’re still growing more than 100% year on year despite the fact we have sold zero new contracts in the United States in the last year. We’ve lost customers the United States.

XRP basically doesn’t trade in the United States. At Ripple, we sell enterprise blockchain despite all the things we do to keep regulatorily compliant – US companies are going , “Look. We’re gonna wait and see what happens.” But the good news is, when you go and talk to banks and institutions around the world, they don’t care. I was in the Middle East a few weeks – certainly in the UK – those customers are just paying because it adds value, it decreases their costs is improving the product experience for their customers… We’ve signed scores of contracts in 2021. It has been a great year -but zero contracts in the United States.”

On NFTs

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