Mastercard Inks Bahrain Blockchain Partnership

Mastercard is collaborating with Bahrain’s Electronic Network for Financial Transactions (BENEFIT) to develop a blockchain-powered B2B payments solution.

Together, the firms are developing a platform to enable faster, more secure cross-border corporate payments that would allow companies to more seamlessly move funds to beneficiaries and banks to directly share payment data with each other without the need for intermediaries. Transactions would move on a blockchain network and connect financial institutions to data to analyze corporate customers’ payments behavior without compromising data security.

According to reports in TahawulTech, the initiative marks Mastercard’s first national-scale blockchain project in the Middle East.

“Blockchain has the potential to transform the way payments are made,” said Mastercard Division President, Middle East and North Africa, Khalid Elgibali in a statement. “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,” he said.

“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,” added BENEFIT CEO Abdulwahed Al-Janahi. “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).

Earlier this year, Bahrain signaled its support for blockchain when financial institution BFC Bahrain, along with a dozen other banks around the world, signed up for Ripple’s XRP digital currency and payment network, also designed to deploy blockchain to streamline cross-border payments.