MasterCard Launches World’s First CBDC-Linked Card in the Bahamas

MasterCard Launches World’s First CBDC-Linked Card in the Bahamas

  • MasterCard launches prepaid cards for the Bahamian central bank digital currency or CBDC.
  • The card allows payments using the Sand Dollar across all accepted stores.

MasterCard, Island Pay, and the central bank of Bahamas collaborate to launch the world’s first CBDC-linked card. The card will integrate Bahamian digital currency, Sand Dollars, enhancing and allowing greater flexibility on how users can pay at any MasterCard-accepted store, an announcement on Wednesday read.

The prepaid card will convert the Sand Dollars to any fiat currency, and users can pay for goods and services around the world.

Island Pay and MasterCard launched the card to “reduce the operational distribution costs of cash and modernize the overall payments system” across the islands. Richard Douglas, the co-founder of Island Pay, said,

“By working closely with the Central Bank of The Bahamas and Mastercard, we can 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.”

Piloted in 2019, the Sand Dollar became the first-ever fully-deployed CBDC to a country’s fiat system. The Sand dollar carries the same customer protection laws and value propositions as the Bahamian fiat currency. The project aims to build a more inclusive financial system by facilitating government disbursements across the 700+ islands and offering more payment options to Bahamians.

The partnership with MasterCard is expected to open up the Sand Dollar borders, which was previously only available to selected merchants in the Bahamas.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Binance Exchange Rolls Out Visa Crypto Reward Cards to European Customers

The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange has started to ship its physical Binance Visa cards to customers within the European Economic Area. The exchange is now urging customers within the European Economic Area to order Binance Visa cards or finish up their previous delivery process.

In an announcement made on Dec. 14, the exchange firm said that customers within the EEA region who applied for Binance Visa cards would soon receive them.

According to the announcement, the physical Binance Visa card will allow users to spend up to 8,700 euros equivalent to $10,600, and they can withdraw up to 290 euros or $350 from ATMs. The cards will also attract zero fees up to 2021 and features up to 8% cashback.

Binance also announced that it was adding support for Ether (ETH) in its Binance Visa cards to give customers more options to use cryptocurrency in their daily lives. The announcement stated,

“Rather pay with your Ethereum profits? From now on, you can buy the things you love with Ethereum. Transfer Ethereum to your Card wallet and drag it above the other coins to make it the preferred payment asset.”

Binance officially debuted its Binance crypto debit card within the EEA region in July this year. The exchange has been offering digital Binance Visa Cards. The exchange clarified at the time that physical cards would be processed in the coming months. It seems the exchange is now ready to issue the physical Visa cards.

To boost its reach in Europe and worldwide, Binance acquired a multi-currency virtual wallet, also a Visa debit card platform, Swipe, in July.

Since Binance revealed plans for a Binance Visa Card back in April this year, it has been actively marketing the new product creating awareness among crypto enthusiasts. After Binance introduced the card within the EEA region, the firm revealed its plans to expand in other regions worldwide. Plans are underway to roll out the card in Russia.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

With A Troubled Past, Are Cryptocurrency Cards Worth the Risk to Push Adoption?

Crypto debit cards were looked at as the next big move for broader crypto adoption and involvement of mainstream players like Visa in the issuance of a card that brought confidence to the industry. While the crypto debit card arena paints a rosy picture for a broader crypto use and adoption, the reality has been far from it.

In 2020 itself, the Wirecard scandal rocked the crypto world, given the firm promised real a breakthrough in the crypto debit card arena. However, the bizarre turn of events this June shattered all those hopes. The firm in June applied for insolvency over $2.1 billion missing from their accounts, which they later claimed never existed. Markus Braun, the former CEO of the firm, was accused of market manipulation.

While Wirecard’s fall came in as a shock, it was not the first firm to venture into the crypto debit card arena and fail. Back in 2018, WaveCrest, a worldwide digital payment solutions provider and a VISA member was asked to call back all the VISA prepaid cards that have been issued Visa later revealed that WaveCrest was not following the Visa’s membership regulations.

The Future of Crypto Debit Cards

The key players of the traditional market, i.e., VISA and Mastercard have both shown interest in expanding its reach and technology it offers. Recently Visa wrote a blog post titled Advancing our approach to the digital currency, where the firm expressed its desire to team up with various blockchain players and offer its customer base with a wide variety of technologies. The firm also expressed its desire to create a bridge between Visa’s network of 61 million global merchants and cryptocurrencies.

Mastercard, another prominent player in the debit/credit card industry, has expanded its current crypto program to help different payment solution firms to offer crypto payment cards. The firm recently partnered with Wirex to allow the firm to issue a digital payment card on its network.

Apart from these two mainstream players, even Paypal, which earlier made it clear that they won’t be offering any form of crypto service, has finally decided to join the digital asset bandwagon like many other naysayers. The payment processing giant has partnered with Venmo to offer a Bitcoin purchase option to its 265 million customers across the globe.

Apart from these mainstream traditional players looking to offer crypto payment card services, even major crypto players like Binance has announced its payment card called Binance card.

Looking at the interest of mainstream players along with mainstream crypto players, the crypto industry could see a surge of crypto card providers shortly.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Crypto Debit Card Issuer Wiredcard Missing $2 Billion, No Fiat or Crypto Funds at Risk

German payment processor Wirecard which issues debit cards of has its share plunging more than 60% after the company said on Thursday that its auditor Ernst & Young can’t find evidence for €1.9 billion euros (US$2.1 billion) in cash on its balance sheet. Markus Braun, Wirecard chief executive, in a statement said,

“Previously issued confirmations by the banks were no longer recognized by the auditor. All parties involved are endeavoring to clarify the matter as quickly as possible.”

“It is currently unclear whether fraudulent transactions to the detriment of Wirecard AG have occurred.”

Source: TradingView

This is, however, just the latest twist as back in October, Wirecard staff reportedly conspired to fraudulently inflate sales and profits at subsidiaries. The company denied the charges and after a special investigation, KPMG said it couldn’t prove the revenue of its third-party acquiring business. Barry Norris, manager of the Argonaut Absolute Return Fund said,

“During our first-quarter conference call we previously described the company as ‘having more red flags than you would see at a communist rally.’”

Germany’s stock market regulator is separately investigating the company CEO who held 7% of the stock making him the largest shareholder, over insider trading allegations.

Crypto Connection

Wirecard Card Solution, the wholly owned subsidiary of Wirecard issues the MCO Visa Card of and Visa Debit Card of TenX.

After the news broke out, Kris Marszalek, chief executive of clarified that the debit cards issued by the company are “fully prefunded” and Wirecard doesn’t have custody of any cryptos held by Marszalek said,

“These client fiat funds are held by an EMI institution regulated by UK FCA in segregated client accounts. The funds are held at another bank (not Wirecard) as required by the FCA.”

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Author: AnTy

Cielo Connects 1.4 Million POS Devices To Start Accepting Crypto Payments

Cielo is a Brazil-based company that provides services related to credit cards and other payment methods. In fact, they are the largest providers of such services in the country. So, when they confirmed that users in Brazil could pay in cryptos, it was one of the best news for adoption in the country in recent times.

POS terminals is an excellent way for smaller businesses to enter the cryptocurrency space. It is easy to use them, and it is very practical when it comes to bookkeeping. When mobile first really took off, and smartphones have become an everyday tool that we rely on, QR codes started becoming an everyday thing. With an integrated POS system, crafting a seamless customer experience is incredibly easy.

The president of the company Paulo Caffarelli said that partner banks such as Bradesco are helping his organization in this venture. Moreover, Cielo has the possibility for supporting crypto payments that do not require QR code this October.

Caffarelli said:

“Cielo is a technology company and has to use its expertise in an overview of the payment chain. We are improving the life of the retailer and the consumer. We have full support of partner banks (of Brazil and Bradesco) because they know that the competition is fierce.”

The founder of Panda Group, Arley Lozano recently took it upon himself to to spread crypto adoption through Columbia and Venezuela. They have deployed 10 hybrid cryptocurrency point-of-sale (PoS) terminals that also act as automated teller machines (ATM). To help the Venezuelan refugees, 4 of those are located near the border. Latin America is an “orange economy” filled with cultural and creative entrepreneurs.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha