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Mastercard and Island Pay unveils Central Bank Digital Currency linked card

By Pavithra R

February 18, 2021

  • America
  • Mastercard
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Mastercard and Island Pay unveils CBDC linked cardMastercard, Central Bank of The Bahamas and Island Pay has announced a new collaboration to launch a program whereby the Bahamas Sand Dollar prepaid card will give people the option to convert the digital currency to traditional Bahamian dollars instantly and pay for goods and services everywhere Mastercard is accepted on the Islands and around the world.

The digital Sand Dollar is issued by the Central Bank of The Bahamas and holds the same value & consumer protections as a traditional Bahamian dollar. The digital currency can be used to offer additional payment choices, facilitate government disbursements, and build a more inclusive economy. In The Bahamas, cash money movement becomes costly, which makes a central bank digital currencies (CBDC) a preferred digital payment in the region. 

The Sand Dollar, originally piloted in 2019, became the first fully- deployed digital version of a country’s fiat currency in October 2020. At that time, It was exclusively accessed by registered users through a digital app at select merchants.

Island Pay’s technology platform, along with Mastercard’s technology and wide merchant acceptance, has the potential to help reduce the operational distribution costs of cash and modernize the overall payments system in The Bahamas.

“We welcome this approach to combining digital currency use with access to foreign currency and other payment outlets. The Central Bank of The Bahamas will continue to encourage fintech developments that tie into the Sand Dollar infrastructure while allowing us to satisfy best global practices for the regulation of the space,” said Central Bank of The Bahamas Governor, John Rolle.

“By working closely with the Central Bank of The Bahamas and Mastercard, we are able to issue a prepaid card unlike any other in the world. We are now able to bring immediate, critical benefits to our customers at a time when they are looking to find new, innovative ways to pay. The Bahamas is leading innovation in CBDCs, and we’re thrilled to be able to play an important role in helping to democratize access to currency, especially in areas that are currently underserved,” said Richard Douglas, co-founder of Island Pay. 

As part of Mastercard’s long term strategy, it has invested in the technology to be ready to explore and enable both CBDCs & privately issued stablecoins in collaboration with governments, banks and FinTechs. 

“This partnership is an example of how the private and public sector can rethink what’s possible, while delivering the strongest levels of consumer protection and regulatory compliance. We’re creating a lot more possibilities for governments, shoppers and merchants, allowing them to transact in an entirely new form of payment,” said Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of Digital Asset & Blockchain Products & Partnerships at Mastercard.

Mastercard, with 89 blockchain patents globally, and an additional 285 blockchain applications pending worldwide has one of the payment industry’s largest blockchain patent portfolios to draw from. The firm recently announced that it plans to support select digital currencies directly on its network, offering choice and flexibility to people and merchants. Through a dedicated crypto card program, Mastercard helps its digital currency partners accelerate their development efforts, from design and market entry to growth and global expansion. Recently, Mastercard formed strategic partnership with MTN to advance digital financial inclusion in Africa. 

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