US-based payment card issuer Mastercard is consolidating a group of blockchain technology and payment service companies to constitute its new CBDC Partner Programme.

Mastercard said that its new programme would bring a greater understanding of the benefits and limitations of CBDCs, and their safe and useful implementation.

The initial partners in the new CBDC Partner Programme include Ripple, Consensys, Fluency, Idemia, Consult Hyperion, Giesecke+Devrient (G+D), and Fireblocks.

Mastercard digital assets and blockchain head Raj Dhamodharan said: “We believe in payment choice and that interoperability across the different ways of making payments is an essential component of a flourishing economy.

“As we look ahead toward a digitally driven future, it will be essential that the value held as a CBDC is as easy to use as other forms of money.

“By assembling the strengths, deep expertise and different capabilities of these partners, we can drive innovation in the central banking community and along the CBDC value chain as the space continues to evolve.”

The programme will leverage tokenised assets solutions provider Fluency’s work to build interoperability among different CBDCs, and digital identity consultant Consult Hyperion’s work with central banks and payment processors to define their CBDC requirements.

Crypto solutions provider Ripple has launched an inaugural government-issued national stablecoin, in collaboration with the Republic of Palau, and has worked on four CBDC pilots.

Germany-based G+D is specialised in safeguarding both physical and digital assets and has developed a CBDC solution, dubbed G+D Filia, which enables secure offline payments.

Filia can be used for online and offline payments using several wallet types and IoT devices.

Idemia develops cryptographic techniques for offline payments and has partnered with the Bank of England to understand the right level of privacy for its CBDC project.

G+D CBDC strategic partnerships manager Sebastian Baierle said: “What we’ve seen is that cash is still there, and that won’t change, but there is an emerging demand for a public digital currency. And the intentions vary from country to country.”