Bahrain’s Electronic Network for Financial Transactions (BENEFIT) and Mastercard have partnered to launch a pilot blockchain program that will enable banks to deliver fast, secure and private cross-border commercial payments. A historic milestone for the Kingdom’s banking sector, the partnership marks the first time that Mastercard will implement blockchain on a national scale in the Middle East, thereby supporting Bahrain’s transition towards a smart economy and unlocking the economic opportunity that cutting-edge innovations like blockchain have to offer.
The pilot program will enable banks to send and receive money on a secure, private and direct network using Mastercard’s cross-border B2B service. The technology solves for several challenges of today’s B2B payments such as speed and transparency. Businesses will be able to make faster payments to their beneficiaries as the technology enables banks to directly exchange required payment information upfront, without the need for intermediaries, using the secure private blockchain network, thereby ensuring payment certainty. Banks will also have access to B2B payment trends, giving them insights into customers’ buying behavior without compromising on the privacy of their financial data.
Commenting on the partnership, Khalid Elgibali, Division President, Middle East, and North Africa, Mastercard said: “Blockchain has the potential to transform the way payments are made. As a technology company, Mastercard is proud to introduce the latest payment technologies to the region, which are helping to build the infrastructure for a smart economy. Mastercard will continue to work with BENEFIT and our other partners in the region to explore further use cases of blockchain, which can help drive greater efficiencies, increase transparency and support the development of digital economies.”
BENEFIT’s CEO, Abdulwahed Al-Janahi, commented: “We are very pleased to sign this agreement, which will be a qualitative leap for international remittance systems and will strengthen Bahrain’s name as a leading international hub in Fintech. The project fits with the national agenda of implementing innovative products based on new technology such as Blockchain. We also thank Mastercard and value the support we have from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the Economic Development Board (EDB).”
Mastercard is a leading innovator of blockchain technology, having built a permissioned blockchain network that is integrated with its global network, providing a secure tamper proof ledger, high transaction throughput, enhanced security, transaction privacy, and support for multiple use cases with one deployment. With over 100 blockchain patents filed, Mastercard is among the world’s blockchain innovators. By leveraging its strategic public-private-partnerships in the Middle East and Africa, Mastercard will continue its efforts in advancing the payments and technological landscape of the region.