The word 'blockchain' now reaches far beyond the implications of cryptocurrencies. Payment company Mastercard announced it would invest in 175 new technology development positions, many of them for blockchain specialists.
The positions would expand the company's presence in Ireland, with all 175 jobs located in the Dublin area in Mastercard's Leopardstown office.
According to Mastercard executives, the company wants to expand its financial services. However, the team never directly mentioned bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as part of those expanded offerings.
"We're driving projects that promote financial inclusion at home and abroad," explained Sonya Geelon, Mastercard Ireland's county manager, "and are working to provide consumers, business, and governments with the most innovative, safe and secure ways to pay."
Executive Vice President and Head of Mastercard Labs Ken Moore said in a statement that Leopardstown was the perfect location for these new solutions and customer offerings.
"Ireland is the heart of our global innovation efforts – throughout Mastercard, Dublin is admired as a key technology hub – we’re looking to replicate the innovation culture we’ve fostered here in our offices around the world," Moore said. "The vibrant culture we have here makes it the perfect place to recruit for these highly-skilled roles. We need great minds who can look outside of Mastercard’s traditional payments expertise and create solutions to benefit our customers around the world, and I’m excited to grow our business here."
Ireland also recently joined alongside 22 other EU countries to establish a European Blockchain Partnership. It would be a "vehicle for cooperation amongst the Member States to exchange experience and expertise in technical and regulatory fields and prepare for the launch of EU-wide blockchain applications across the Digital Single Market for the benefit of the public and private sectors," the agreement said.
Heather Humphreys T.D. serves as Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation. She said, the Dublin area welcomes the new jobs.
“Mastercard’s decision to expand here is an important landmark and I warmly welcome the new jobs that are coming with the announcement," Humphreys said. "The Government has been working hard to ensure that we have the right conditions in place to attract the knowledge-based sectors to Ireland, in particular, a skilled workforce that can fill the needs of companies like Mastercard. Ireland is now a very attractive location for international FinTech and payment companies from all over the world and announcements like this one today illustrate that our policies are continuing to deliver tangible results.”
There's certainly talk as to whether or not the new positions would actually involve cryptocurrencies. The company released experimental blockchain APIs back in 2016 to "give developers the chance to work on emerging technologies that haven't yet been commercialized by us," a spokesperson told CoinDesk at the time. Late last year, Mastercard announced it would use those new programs in B2B transactions.
In September 2017, the company filed a patent that described a system that would record "purchase orders, invoices, [and] transaction data."