Mastercard and GrainChain have formed a strategic partnership to create blockchain solutions and data insights via digital records for commodity data. The collaboration will see the Mastercard Provenance Solution be integrated into the Central American marketplace.
With the lack of real-time data integration accuracy and accountability in Central America’s trade system, the partnership is expected to ensure faster and more accurate commodity data, resulting in increased transparency and accountability of the supply chain management.
Mastercard’s interest in blockchain technology has grown as the giant payments platform has initiated alliances with different partners in the sector. Mastercard has sent mixed messages on cryptos, and has not been supportive of Bitcoin. Upper management at Mastercard has spoken out against the world's most valuable token, but the company has been widely supportive of blockchain projects.
Before it created an alliance with GrainChain, Mastercard began working with the Fresh Supply Co., which is based in Australia. These two companies see the value of blockchain in food supply chains, although Mastercard still appears to favor fiat currency as a means of settlement. Mastercard is working with Fresh Supply Co. in Asia to ensure that top-tier food products like beef and honey are tracked from the farmer to the end user, and that counterfeit goods are easily identified.
Why it matters: There is a growing disconnect between crypto and blockchain. While blockchain technology is being widely adopted by major financial companies, like Mastercard, crypto isn't. Some investment professionals are actually buying Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation and a breakdown in the financial system, which is probably going to be seen as extremely intelligent in retrospect.
In some ways the resistance that major financial firms and money center banks are showing to crypto should be expected. The model that Mastercard seems to support is a blockchain for record keeping, and its own platform for settlement.
This may prove difficult, as Mastercard is still subject to national banking laws, which makes many of cryptos abilities to slash red tape unusable. Platforms like Bitcoin and Ripple (among others) create low-cost channels for global capital flows, and also open up the market to just about anyone who has an internet connection.
In the Mastercard model, the company still acts as a gatekeeper, which creates the risk that Mastercard could control the market, and also support US political interests. These sort of arrangements may last for a time, but ultimately the Western-led financial system that has existed for more than 100 years has become a centrally-planned economy, which is doomed to terminal decline.