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Mastercard Launches First Central Bank-issued Digital Currency Card

Mastercard in partnership with IslandPay just launched the world's first central bank-issued digital currency card. Is this another step towards making digital currencies mainstream? In this article we break down this exciting news, explain how this digital currency-linked card works andhow this could impact the blockchain market.

15/3/2021

Whilst cryptocurrencies have been fluctuating heavily in price, the value of digital and cryptocurrencies continues to rise over time, and more pioneers are investing in supporting and accepting crypto.

Market capitalization and cryptocurrencies growth 2020
Cryptocurrencies market capitalization. Source: Statista
We have already witnessed a number of market leaders invest in and facilitate transactions in the blockchain market
  • Visa’s launch of a crypto API pilot, 
  • Tesla investing $1.5 billion in Bitcoin
  • MasterCard’s plans of supporting a select group of crypto
  • Square acquiring $170m more BTC last week
  • And just recently, MasterCard announced the launch of a digital currency card

In a recent press release, Mastercard announced that they partnered with the Central Bank of the Bahamas and IslandPay to roll out prepaid cards that can be loaded with the world's first central bank digital currency, the Bahamian Sand Dollar. Rolled out in 2020, the Bahamian Sand Dollar is the first fully- deployed digital version of a country’s currency. This digital currency is issued by the Central Bank of The Bahamas and carries the same value and consumer protections as a traditional Bahamian dollar

How does this card work?

IslandPay is issuing a Bahamas Sand Dollar prepaid card that gives people the option to instantly convert the digital currency to traditional Bahamian dollars and pay for goods and services anywhere Mastercard is accepted locally, and globally.

What makes this digital currency highly valuable for the citizens of the Bahamas is that cash movement is quite costly and inconvenient since the Bahamas consists of 700 small islands and more than 12,000 square kilometers of water. Additionally, this initiative is introduced as a way to reduce the 2 days settlement time through  traditional bank transfers, as well as protection against fraud and money laundering.

Chances are you've never heard of IslandPay before. So let us briefly cover what IslandPay is all about.

Founded in 2018, IslandPay is a digital payment platform for both merchants & consumers. It allows individuals, businesses and governments to pay for goods and services. Additionally, users are able to send, transfer, and receive funds electronically using their mobile phones and other low-cost access mediums. 

The European Central Bank and the "Digital Euro"

What is particularly interesting is that we are seeing the potential value and success of a digital currency. With a European digital currency in the testing, we are wondering if this launch can act as a test pilot for the ECB, One where they are able to see real time user cases to be able to assess their own project. Curious about the initiative of the Digital Euro? Check out our previous video

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