Making the grade: Why education is core to crypto’s survival

By Jorn Lambert, Chief Digital Officer, Mastercard 

To industry outsiders, the cryptocurrency landscape may be a little unnerving right now. Reports of hacks and breaches are capturing headlines – obscuring the true potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Banks, regulators and consumers are on the brink of pushing crypto into the mainstream, but in order for that to happen, safety needs to be priority. 

And while it may seem daunting, the truth is that safety is just a problem to be solved. The more the various players understand that and work as an industry to make it safer, the more confident they will be to push crypto forward. 

The key to that is education.  

How education can help build a safer crypto environment 

Education doesn’t just mean explaining the complexities of crypto. It means providing transparency so that companies within the crypto space can have a clear view of who is transacting and can analyze potential threats, not only in the form of hacks but also to regulatory violations. It also means keeping companies educated about security challenges and the best ways to guard against and overcome them. 

At Mastercard, we’re making digital assets safer by partnering with companies and governments to bring our network and knowledge to the crypto world. We are building solutions that can identify counterparty risk and make it safer to buy and sell using cryptocurrencies. In fact, earlier this week we previewed a new program, Mastercard Crypto SourceTM, to enable financial institutions to bring secure crypto trading capabilities and service to their customers. 

The whole crypto industry needs to be invested in education 

On a broader scale, we all need to work to educate consumers so they know where there are risks, how to avoid scams, and understand how new technologies can keep the crypto infrastructure watertight and digital money safe. They also need to trust that digital assets have the ability to withstand market shocks. To get there, the crypto industry needs to explain to consumers that they are using the most up-to-date security approaches to stay one step ahead of hackers.   

Central banks need education from the whole crypto industry to better understand how digital currencies influence the financial system, especially as many weigh whether to launch their own central bank digital coins. They’ll need to work with private sector companies to become educated about what’s needed to support crypto’s growth. In fact, Mastercard’s CipherTrace is already working with the private sector, central banks and governments to train them on crypto security.  

Regulators need more education about how crypto can fit into their existing frameworks and where new guidelines are needed. That will mean learning from the people and companies who are already doing the work and making sure industry experts from all levels are at the table during discussions.  

Improving transparency and building a safer crypto environment 

At Mastercard, we are doing our part to increase education across the board. We have tools like CipherTrace and Ekata that improve transparency by helping exchanges, banks and financial institutions run compliance checks and pinpoint whether wallet addresses are linked to illicit activity. We’ve launched The Belle Block TM as a community focused on educating and empowering women and non-binary individuals to benefit from Web3 technology and crypto. And, we recently announced Crypto Secure which makes it easier, safer to buy crypto and helps card issuers stay compliant with the complex regulatory landscape of the digital assets sector. 

Building trust is essential as the industry shifts up a gear. We’re focused on providing solutions that cement users’ confidence in counterparties as well as crypto assets and the technology that drives them.    

By plugging security gaps, our technology is helping make the crypto economy safer for users and governments. Monitoring transactions and employing blockchain forensics alongside anti-money laundering tactics help our clients flag high risk trades and comply with regulations.  

So far, Mastercard New Payments Index survey found just a fraction of consumers, 41%, have dabbled in at least one crypto-related activity in the past year. But most of those, 29%, have viewed it as an investment, not a practical way to buy and sell goods, 65% indicating a preference for crypto-related services to be provided by their current trusted financial institution.  

We can’t expect to unlock the potential of blockchain unless we build confidence in security. By bringing the crypto economy together to step up education, we can ensure digital currencies will make the grade.  

Worldwide 2022 New Payments Index consumer polling by Mastercard demonstrates consumers’ evolving attitudes on and preferences for emerging payments in the future.  

CONSUMER SURVEY METHODOLOGY 2022  

Online interviews among 35,040 global adults, includes nationally representative samples from markets across 5 regions:   

NAM (n=2,001)  

LAC (n=6,004)  

Europe (n=11,522)  

EEMEA (n=8,509)  

AP (n=7,004)  

Research conducted by The Harris Poll and Mastercard Global Foresights, Insights and Analytics from March 21 to April 21, 2022. 

This post is commissioned by Mastercard and does not serve as a testimonial or endorsement by The Block. This post is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment, tax, legal or other advice. You should conduct your own research and consult independent counsel and advisors on the matters discussed within this post. Past performance of any asset is not indicative of future results.


© 2023 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.