CEOs of Mastercard and Wells Fargo Concur on Blockchain’s Long Term Potential

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Top execs at Mastercard and Wells Fargo agreed that blockchain technology has long-term potential, but it has not been realized to date, CNBC reports on March 28.

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan and Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Banga concurred that the potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) is yet to pay off, but that there are still no clear business use-cases as of now. The executives made their comments to CNBC at the Fintech Ideas Festival on Wednesday.

Wells Fargo’s CEO emphasized that the technology has been very slow to roll out, pointing at a blockchain pilot carried out between the bank with the Commonwealth Bank in Australia back in October 2016. Sloan stressed that the pilot resulted in just one transaction, concluding that DLT will have more impact “over time.” He said:

“If you turned the clock back a few years ago, it should have completely changed the industry — that’s just not the way it works.”

Mastercard’s CEO declared that blockchain tech has “interesting possibilities,” and it would be a bad idea to ignore that. Specifically, Banga outlined the potential of the tech to improve the efficiency of supply chains and to address issues around counterfeit goods. However, he also noted that a blockchain-enabled business model is not proven to date, claiming that “we’re just saying we don’t know the business model yet.”

Both Mastercard and Wells Fargo have been actively exploring the benefits of blockchain tech, with Mastercard ranked third company worldwide according to the number of blockchain patents filed. For its part, Wells Fargo entered the Forbes’ list of The 50 Largest Public Companies Exploring Blockchain in July 2018.

In October 2018, CEO of global payment giant Visa, Al Kelly, argued that its major competitor Mastercard has to “try harder” in terms of blockchain applications, since they are smaller than Visa.

Recently, global professional services firm Accenture announced a collaboration with Mastercard to introduce a blockchain-based circular supply chain.