Mastercard and BENEFIT launch Middle East blockchain payment programme

Bahrain’s Electronic Network for Financial Transactions (BENEFIT) and Mastercard have partnered to launch a pilot blockchain programme that will enable banks to deliver fast, secure and private cross-border commercial payments.

The partnership marks the first time that Mastercard will implement blockchain on a national scale in the Middle East. The pilot programme 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. Mastercard says that 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 behaviour without compromising on the privacy of their financial data.

Commenting on the partnership, Khalid Elgibali, division president, Middle East and North Africa at Mastercard said: “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.”