Priceless: Mastercard Web3 Platform for Creators

Overview CES Tech Talk podcast, in season 6, features interviews with experts for an insider’s look at what’s new and trending in consumer electronics. New episodes drop weekly. Subscribe to get the latest. In Episode 27, Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar and soccer great Crystal Dunn discuss the Mastercard Artist Accelerator, a first-of-its-kind Web3 platform built to digitally empower and monetize artists, athletes and more via NFTs and other blockchain tools.

“A sea of sameness.” That’s what Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar has to say about traditional marketing that bombards audiences with up to 10,000 advertising messages a day. Instead, he’s leading the company toward experiential marketing, the star of which is the Mastercard Artist Accelerator. Underpinned by blockchain technologies, this Web3 platform is built to help artists, athletes and other top performers gain digital control over their brand. With the accelerator, they can do this through Mastercard-sponsored tools for minting NFTs, and building audiences through immersive and distributed channels that the creators can better control.
When Rajamannar stepped into the C Space Studio at CES 2023 to unveil the Mastercard Artist Accelerator, he was joined by women’s soccer champion Crystal Dunn, a Mastercard global brand ambassador who attested to the potential of new digital avenues that return value as they heighten fan engagement. Discover how Mastercard is seeking to upend marketing’s legacy tactics in episode 27, Mastercard Creates Web3 Accelerator for Artists, Athletes, of the CES Tech Talk podcast series.


  • With the Mastercard Artist Accelerator, announced at CES 2023, the company is seeking to not only boost its brand and products, but to “do something good” for society, as its CMO says, in a “genuine, authentic fashion.” To this end, the accelerator pairs experts with artists and athletes who demonstrate excellence, passion and purpose.
  • To stand out amidst traditional advertising’s relentless noise and clutter, messages must inspire consumers in new ways; this is Mastercard’s marketing objective: To be recognized as a company that prioritizes experiences over ads.
  • In furtherance of experiential marketing, Mastercard has been experimenting with metaverse opportunities, and on platforms including Horizon Worlds, Decentraland, Sandbox and Roblo.
  • Mastercard, a longtime Grammy Awards sponsor, underwrote a metaverse presence for the event earlier this year on Roblox, a first for Mastercard within a virtual environment.
  • In summing up what’s ahead for tech as it relates to global enterprises, Mastercard’s Raja Rajamannar said, “2023 will be the year of…learning and artificial intelligence.”

They Said It

[W]e are very fortunate that Crystal [Dunn] is our brand ambassador. And so together, she joined me…on the stage at CES to announce the launch of Mastercard Artist Accelerator, which is a platform to help emerging artists build their fandom, monetize their content, be in charge of the experiences that they create. So, we're going to really teach them…what she has done in the world of sports with her Black Women's [Player Collective], there are some inspirations that we have derived…

Raja Rajamannar (01:50)

[T]he world we live in now is very fast paced, very forward-thinking at all times. And I think for me as a player, just one thing I have heard is fans loving the idea that they have more access to players [via digital platforms]...One thing that Mastercard is doing is providing fans with more of a priceless experience.

Crystal Dunn (08:53)

Mastercard at CES 2023

Mastercard was showcased at CES via a session in the C Space Studio at ARIA. The company used that platform to announce the Mastercard Artist Accelerator, a medium the company describes as “unleashed by Web3, and unlocked for creators and fans, alike, with the Mastercard Music Pass NFT.”

Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Mastercard

With 30-plus years of experience, Rajamannar leads Mastercard’s marketing transformation from a cost center to a net-direct revenue generator. Under his stewardship is the Priceless experiential marketing platform. He also leads a multi-sensory marketing strategy. He has built Mastercard into one of the top-12 most valuable brands in the world. He also has led Mastercard’s entry into Web3, covering metaverse, NFTs, blockchain and cryptocurrencies.


Crystal Dunn, National Women’s Soccer League | Mastercard Global Brand Ambassador

The No.1 pick in the 2014 NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) college draft out of the University of North Carolina, Crystal Dunn is an NWSL MVP, two-time NWSL champion, and FIFA World Cup champion. Self-described as ruthless, Dunn also is versatile, agreeing to serve as Mastercard brand ambassador to help elevate the visibility and fan engagement of women’s soccer. As a professional athlete, Dunn is a standout player for the Portland Thorns having been instrumental in attaining the U.S. win in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. 

Subscribe to CES Tech Talk

Listen to what the industry’s thought leaders have to say about the tech events and advancements that are changing consumers’ lives. Past episodes are available on demand.