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Mastercard is legitimising web3 for music artists

As a banking company, Mastercard could even be seen as the very antithesis of the decentralised vision that proponents are trying to build. Having said this, the finance giant is smart in shaping a positive outlook for the space in 2023. 

​​At CES last week, it launched the Mastercard Artist Accelerator, an initiative that will teach emerging musicians how to leverage Web3 technology. The crux is that a career in music is increasingly dependent on the digital economy, and in order to get out ahead, creators should harness the advantages that blockchain tech can offer.  

One of the driving forces behind this decision is Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer, who acknowledges that NFTs and other Web3 tools can help artists achieve scale at critical junctures in their career (i.e the beginning which is often not monetised in a web2 career stream). 

Mastercard’s accelerator will kick off sometime in the spring with its Music Pass NFT, which will allow fans to learn alongside the artists through educational materials and metaverse experiences.

Furthermore, Rajamannar acknowledges the difficulties presented to artists and musicians in these early web3 days. Namely, how creator royalties on NFT sales have been cast into doubt when marketplaces abruptly stopped honouring them. As with many applications based on blockchain technology, royalties are difficult to enforce, especially when they hurt profits for young companies. Rajamannar’s solution to this problem is for established companies to strike reliable partnerships with creators. We have often talked here on Wishu about the Web3 community’s need for legitimation which makes us happy to see Mastercard move towards this. 

Another area of interest for the finance giant is soulbound tokens (SBTs), which are non-transferable NFTs that prove some claim. SBTs haven’t yet found the level of use seen by NFTs, but Rajamannar views them as having particular potential as loyalty plays, given their inability to be traded.

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are another prospect to keep an eye on, Rajamannar told AdAge. CBDCs are essentially digital dollars that tend to be overseen by central banks, allowing for much faster transactions and virtually no need for cold hard cash. India and China have piloted their own CBDCs, and President Biden has called on the U.S. government to look into the technology. CBDCs, though, are not cryptocurrencies, and on account of being fully centralised by governments, could even increase the kind of financial surveillance that crypto is attempting to fight.

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