Three months ago, the Bahamas launched the world’s first-ever central bank-backed digital currency, the Sand Dollar. The Caribbean island has once again set another milestone as it availed its citizens the first-ever CBDC-linked debit card. Local payments firm Island Pay partnered with the global giant Mastercard on the CBDC-linked debit card. The debit card would allow Bahamians to instantly convert their Sand Dollars to traditional fiat currencies and pay for goods and services.
The debit card can be used on any merchant store that accepts Mastercard.
CBDC-linked debit cardholders can use the card globally on any merchant store that accepts Mastercard. The Bahamas launched the Sand Dollar after years of development as it sought to insulate its financial system against the constant disruptions that occur whenever the country experiences a natural disaster. It’s most devastating so far has been Hurricane Dorian, which took over 70 lives and leftover $5.1 billion in damage. The Central Bank of the Bahamas launched the CBDC to ‘full-proof’ its financial system in the event of such a tragedy.
Mastercard continues to explore the crypto space.
Mastercard’s involvement in the CBDC project is its latest effort in establishing itself in the crypto and blockchain world. The international payment giant already has 89 blockchain patents to its name, with 285 others pending. It’s also working with select digital currency payment providers, including BitPay and Uphold, to enable instant payments. However, it exited the Libra Association despite being a founder member. Raj Dhamodharan, the vice president of digital assets and blockchain at Mastercard, noted, “We’re creating a lot more possibilities for governments, shoppers, and merchants, allowing them to transact in an entirely new form of payment.”