Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach said that he does expect
SWIFT, one of the most widely used platforms for cross-border fiat transactions,
to exist in five years.

Miebach was speaking at a panel adjacent to the World
Economic Forum’s annual (WEF) summit hosted by the Global Blockchain Business
Council (GBBC). The panel discussed the future of cross-border payments and the
potential of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) in the financial system.

Also Read | Why world’s dependence on Russia oil may trigger a global recession

Towards the end of the panel discussion, when the
moderator asked each panellist whether SWIFT would still exist in five years,
Miebach caused the audience to gasp in shock when he replied “no,” according to
a Cointelegraph report.

The response was unexpected, considering his position at
Mastercard and that the panellists before him, including Jon Frost, a senior
economist at Bank of International Settlements and Jennifer Lassiter, executive
director of the Digital dollar, an organization tasked with exploring a United
States CBDC, had answered in the affirmative.

Also Read | Rishi Sunak throws the dice: Inside UK’s £15 bn Cost of Living Package

Other panellists also took the affirmative viewpoint,
including Yuval Rooz, CEO of Digital Asset and David Treat, director at
Accenture and co-lead of the company’s blockchain business.

Miebach was the only one to say that maybe soon SWIFT
might not be the dominant system to transfer money across continents. Both Rooz
and Lassiter also said that SWIFT may be replaced, but said that five years
won’t likely be enough time.

Also Read | Recovery getting entrenched and broadening despite risks: RBI annual report

Later, a Mastercard spokesperson downplayed Miebach’s
comments in an email statement:

“Let us clarify the intent of the on-stage comment, as
it’s not as simple as a yes or no answer. Michael was simply reinforcing what
SWIFT has previously said — their operations continue to evolve. Its current
form will not be the same in the future. They are adding more functionality and
moving past just being a messaging system.”

Also Read | Russia to make foreign debt payments in Rubles after US ends exemption

SWIFT processed 42 million messages per day last year,
but transactions on the network can take several days to complete. The company
has been struggling to stay relevant in the international economy, especially
concerning CBDCs.

Also Read | ‘There’s a buffer’: Why IMF’s Gita Gopinath thinks risk of a recession is low

On May 19, SWIFT announced its second round of
experiments involving CBDCs in collaboration with French IT company Capgemini
to explore the linking of domestic CBDCs to facilitate seamless cross-border