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Year One: A Mini Retrospective

It’s been a smidge over a year since Mastercard acquired CipherTrace. To celebrate this milestone, I sat down with Dave Jevans, founder and EVP of CipherTrace, and Johan Gerber, Mastercard’s EVP for Cyber and Security Innovation, to talk about everything we’ve accomplished, the challenges and the path ahead.

While hailing a taxi in Barcelona, Dave was almost run over by a bus. Most people in that situation might see their lives flash before their eyes. For Dave, it was his life’s work — quite literally. As he leaped out of the way, he noticed the giant letters on its side: CipherTrace. The bus that had nearly hit him was emblazoned with an advertisement for the company he had founded.

Jevans laughs at the memory. It was just one more moment in what has been a whirlwind year since Mastercard bought CipherTrace in October 2021.

And what a year it has been!

It’s never easy to acquire a company, let alone be acquired. There’s a level of complexity to the process that you have probably never considered. So, while it might have seemed that CipherTrace was being relatively quiet in comparison to our previous outspokenness, it was purposeful.

It takes time for two companies to get to know each other (and we’re not done yet!), find their rhythm and figure out how to truly make progress. And progress has many variations – from building new solutions to re-engineering systems to the way we communicate with each other.

So what does finding our rhythm look like? Firstly, it’s evident that CipherTrace’s solutions are now among Mastercard’s key offerings to all its banking customers. That, in itself is a massive endeavor.

Technology that expands the crypto economy

In just eleven months, Mastercard launched Crypto Secure, the first synthesis of the two companies’ technologies. Fusing CipherTrace’s detailed insight with Mastercard’s extensive transaction data, Crypto Secure helps banks and card issuers decide which purchases of cryptocurrency to approve and which to reject.

The genesis of Crypto Secure is CipherTrace Armada, which provides FIs with an extreme close-up of thousands of crypto entities. It allows banks to drill down into the data to create highly accurate risk and fraud models, which can be used to assess transactions and to vet potential trading partners.

Dave explains, “being able to manage risk is how everyone makes money. We’re helping customers move into this productive space and build trust with the banks and all parties involved.”

And two weeks after the launch of Crypto Secure, Mastercard followed up with Crypto Source, a comprehensive suite of buy, hold and sell services for crypto assets. By empowering FIs to offer secure crypto trading to their customers, we are working together to make crypto as convenient and safe as fiat money.

Where we’re at

A global product launch, a host of new contracts and an exceedingly strong quarter in CipherTrace’s history — all of this accomplished while integrating into Mastercard. “That speaks to the culture of the people, their focus, their can-do attitude,” Gerber says, adding that both companies have changed for the better. “Every time we bring innovative thinkers together, sparks fly. This partnership is so much more than the sum of its parts.”

Oh and the bus ad, is part of a global campaign that has been rolled out in thirteen different countries – the first global B2B brand campaign centering on services and networks.

Strengthening the crypto community 

We’re bringing folks together at our self-proclaimed “Crypto Days” – we kicked off in Tel Aviv, and have since popped over to Miami, Venice, Sao Paulo and Nairobi. And more to follow in 2023. These events are designed to discuss developments in the industry from regulatory advancement and challenges to education as well as to fostering relationships with existing and potential customers.

“It shows Mastercard’s commitment to this new payment mechanism,” Jevans says. “Our newly combined team has worked incredibly hard both to integrate with each other while still building world-class tools and services – so it’s wonderful to be able to share that with people across the globe.”

One of the biggest areas of focus across the board is education. There is a ton of information out there that is inaccurate. We can’t possibly hope to have decent discourse and progress without people being properly informed. In order to build a stronger crypto ecosystem, we are deeply committed to educating financial professionals and the general public. To complement the premium training sessions and workshops that CipherTrace holds throughout the year, we’ve introduced the Crypto Foundations Training Module. We developed the free course to lay out the essential concepts that can help anyone invest safely in crypto or even jumpstart a career in the field.

Ultimately, the biggest benefit will be making crypto safer for everyone. “That’s how we’ll enable more consumers to reap the benefits that crypto brings,” Gerber says. “We are playing a part in ensuring that crypto is more secure and accessible; helping to bring the same level of trust to crypto as we do to other types of payments.”

Where we’re going?

With a fast-moving and dynamic industry like crypto and digital assets the work is never done. Our advertising campaign which Dave Jevans experienced in Barcelona is proof that Mastercard is committed to crypto. Crucially, it’s about building trust and launching services and tools which help make this relatively new industry work for all people, not just a few traders betting on big market moves. We’re excited about 2023, and we’ll have lots more to tell you about in the next 12 months.



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