The new boss in charge of giving out a MasterCard licenses has no intention of allowing the brand or any bank that does private label cards to use Bitcoins. In fact, he nearly bragged to me about killing the BitInstant deal with a U.S. bank for the first planned $BTC card this year.
Stephen Ruch, the MasterCard executive, is just a year into his job with the company, and while he monitors the Bitcoin space he told me he is still under the impression it’s one big Ponzi scheme. Even after meeting with this person socially multiple times, where I explained the mechanics of how digital currencies actually work, he still had a blind eye to its legitimacy. His biggest fear was it would ‘hurt the MasterCard’ brand.
RT’s most popular TV journalist, Max Keiser, weighed in on MasterCard’s fearful attitude telling me, “We can say without equivocation that firms like MasterCard, Visa and the TBTF banks like JPMorgan and Goldman hate the idea of ever having to compete for business again. They have grown comfortable in their corrupt world of writing laws for themselves without any regulatory oversight. They enjoy the exorbitant privilege of bilking the American economy with extortionary transaction rates. They are scared of Bitcoin. And they should be. It offers transparency, cost efficiency and anonymity.”
Now Ruch isn’t blind to helping MasterCard make every penny it possibly can but it appears it’s going to take the likes of someone like Jon Matonis to have a little sitdown to open this man’s mind. On October 18th Ruch sent me a link to a story on ‘Why Bitcoin will fail’ that his staff pulls together for him to monitor the Bitcoin space. I thanked him for the link and responded I was a little behind on $BTC news. Ruch then said responded he thought a lot of people involved in the Bitcoin business were not on the up and up.
I thought WOW he is really afraid of this thing. Whenever I hear anyone think the digital currency is a Ponzi scheme it makes me realize they are just not educated on the subject or they are close minded to the viability of a currency outside the paper money sphere. Now Ruch is an intelligent person but this is also a man who told me he thinks Fox News in the morning is a credible source of information.
Peter Vessenes of CoinLab has often drilled into me that $BTC has to get accessible to scale, to get in the hands of mass main street, and draw the interest of institutional money. But if we’ve got a major road block, at one of the two most powerful institutions who could open the floodgates for Bitcoin accessibility with a debit-like BTC card, then the digital currency space could have problem.
Well at least there is always Visa right?
Editor’s Note: I met Ruch socially and not in an official interview but he knew he was speaking with a journalist who has written about Bitcoins. This is just one of those factual events I felt was important to publish and didn’t think getting MasterCard’s permission to go on the record was needed. The Stamford, Conn. resident, Ruch, official title is SVP/Global Head of Growth Innovation & Planning- Franchise Development