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Michael Miebah joined a panel of experts on central banks’ digital currencies during the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.
Mastercard’s CEO, Michael Miebah, surprised colleagues when he answered “no” when asked if SWIFT, the current interbank messaging system that allows cross-border payments, would exist in five years’ time.
Miebah spoke at a panel timed to coincide with the Annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Summit, organized by the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), which discussed the future of cross-border payments and the potential of CBDCs in the financial system.
“If you can get a payment with all the data attached that you need as a company … cost savings in addition to lowering the cost of payment and overall performance improvements, we can expect if we do that, that’s the real goal,” Mibah said.
The conference officially kicked off on Tuesday and cryptocurrency was often mentioned on panels related to the industry.
Also on Tuesday, Jennifer Lassiter, executive director of the Digital Dollar Project, took part in the panel; Yuval Roose, CEO of Digital Asset; David Treat, director of Accenture and co-founder of the Digital Dollar Project; John Frost, a senior economist at the Bank for International Settlements, all responded that in five years SWIFT would still exist.
Miebah was the only one who expressed confidence that, perhaps, in the near future, this system will cease to be the dominant system of transferring money between continents. Both Lassiter and Roose also seemed to think SWIFT could one day be replaced, but said five years would probably not be enough.
A Mastercard spokesperson, in a statement, tried to soften the executive’s words.
“Let’s clarify the purpose of the commentary on stage, as it’s not as simple as a yes or no answer. Michael simply confirmed that SWIFT had previously said that their operations continue to evolve. Its current form will not be the same in the future. They add more functionality and go beyond just a messaging system,” the spokesperson said.
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