Today, Bahamians have gained even greater versatility in how they shop and pay using the first of its kind, the country’s digital currency. The Bahamas Sand Dollar prepaid card gives people the opportunity to instantly convert the digital currency to traditional Bahamian dollars under a new initiative from Mastercard and Island Pay and pay for products and services anywhere Mastercard is accepted on the Islands and around the world.
The digital sand dollar is issued by the Bahamas Central Bank and carries the same value and security as the conventional Bahamian dollar for consumers. To promote government disbursements, provide additional payment options and create a more inclusive economy, the digital currency can be used. There are 700 small islands in The Bahamas and over 5000 square miles of sea. The movement of cash money is expensive, making a central bank digital currency (CBDC) the region’s chosen digital payment. The Sand Dollar is going to be sold to visitors in the future.
The groundbreaking work of Mastercard with CBDCs helps governments around the world as real-life use cases are investigated, tested and introduced across existing payment rails. Its virtual testing environment allows for the simulation of CBDC issuance, distribution and exchange between banks, providers of financial services, and individuals.
Combined with Mastercard technology and broad merchant acceptance, the technology platform of Island Pay has the ability to help minimize cash operating delivery costs and modernize the overall payment system in The Bahamas.
Central Bank of The Bahamas Governor, John Rolle, 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.”
Richard Douglas, 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.”
In collaboration with governments, banks and fintechs, Mastercard has invested in the technology to be ready to explore and allow both CBDCs and privately issued stablecoins as part of its long-term plan to allow all forms of payments-card, ACH and blockchain-based. Mastercard also has one of the largest blockchain patent portfolios in the payment industry to draw from, with 89 blockchain patents globally, and an additional 285 blockchain applications pending worldwide.
Recently, the company revealed that it plans to support select digital currencies directly on its network, giving people and merchants choice and versatility. In order to direct its activities in this space, each program will be evaluated against the principles that Mastercard has developed.
Mastercard helps its digital currency partners accelerate their development efforts with a dedicated crypto card program, from design and market entry to growth and global expansion. As a result, the innovations that have been jointly developed have the potential to allow a more inclusive economy. Mastercard allows this through our crypto alliances, including Wirex, Uphold, BitPay, and most recently, LVL, if a customer wants to invest their holdings.
Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of Digital Asset & Blockchain Products & Partnerships at Mastercard, said: “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.”
Cryptocurrency has been gathering a lot of attention lately not only from a stock market perspective where there has been growth in Bitcoin, Dodge Coin and, Ethereum along with others but on the usage side where recently Tesla purchased $1.5b in Bitcoin and plans to start accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment in the future. This additional attention is not limited to the consumer side as some Corporations are also beginning to implement Bitcoin as a form as payment as well as covered by Steve Murphy in a recent article published on PaymentsJournal.