Mastercard and Island Pay have launched a Bahamian prepaid card. The card will give Bahamians extra flexibility in how they shop and pay using the country’s CBDC.
Residents will now be able to load CBDC stable tokens onto a prepaid Mastercard and give people the option to convert the digital current to traditional Bahamian dollars instantly. One can use the card to pay for goods and services anywhere where Mastercard is accepted.
The Mastercard News Room made the following statement:
“The digital Sand Dollar is issued by the Central Bank of The Bahamas and carries the same value and consumer protections as a traditional Bahamian dollar. The digital currency can be used to facilitate government disbursements, offer additional payment choices and build a more inclusive economy. In The Bahamas, there are 700 small islands and more than 5000 square miles of water. Cash money movement becomes costly, which makes a central bank digital currency (CBDC) a preferred digital payment in the region. In the future, the Sand Dollar will be offered to tourists.”
Opening Sand Dollar To The Masses
Initially piloted in 2019, the Sand Dollar became the first fully- deployed digital version of a country’s fiat currency in October 2020. The Sand Dollar used to be exclusively accessed by registered users through an app provided by Island Pay – a local payment service provider – at select merchants
John Rolle, Central Bank of The Bahamas Governor, said:
“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 regulation of the space.”
It is believed that the combination of Mastercard’s tech and broad user base along with Island Pay’s technology platform will be robust enough to reduce the operational distribution costs associated with traditional cash
Richard Douglas, the co-founder of Island Pay, said:
“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.”
Mastercard’s Venture Into The Crypto Space
On Feb 10, Mastercard announced that it would begin supporting select cryptocurrencies on its payment network. Mastercard also has a virtual testing environment that enables the simulation of issuance, distribution, and exchange of CBDC Stable Tokens between various parties.
Plus, with 89 blockchain patents globally and an additional 285 blockchain applications pending worldwide, Mastercard has one of the world’s largest blockchain patent portfolios.
Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of Digital Asset & Blockchain Products & Partnerships at Mastercard, noted:
“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.”