Marshall Islands Commissions Swiss Startup to Produce “Banknotes” for Sovereign Crypto

Switzerland-based crypto ‘smart card’ wallet manufacturer Tangem is set to develop the “physical blockchain notes” for Marshall Islands’ planned Sovereign (SOV) cryptocurrency.

According to Tangem’s press release published Monday, the Republic of the Marshall Islands has handpicked the Swiss wallet maker to produce the blockchain notes which would serve as storage for the republic’s planned native crypto while SOV will function as the nation’s alternative legal tender alongside the U.S. fiat.

As the firm detailed, the blockchain notes would a be a physical card that serves as a “controllable mechanism of currency issuance and circulation for the state,” secured by a blockchain-powered microprocessor. According to Tangem, the physical bank note is capable of facilitating “immediate” validation of transactions without requiring internet access and at no extra charge.

“Tangem will help us ensure all citizens, including those living on more remote outer islands, are able to easily and practically transact using SOV,” said David Paul, minister-in-assistance to the president of the Marshall Islands.

The SOV project was first unveiled back in February 2018 concomitant with the Marshall Islands’ enactment of the Declaration and Issuance of the Sovereign Currency Act, thereby legalizing the initiative. At the time, Israeli digital banking platform Neema was reportedly commissioned to develop the underlying technology that would power the new digital asset through a public protocol dubbed Yokwe.

However, following its initial announcement, the project has faced a series of pushbacks that have deferred the development of the nation’s digital currency, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advising against its launch, warning that such a plan could potentially disrupt the flow of external aid, resulting in “a significant drag on the economy.”

More recently, Japanese financial services giant SBI Group has invested over $15 million to support Tangem’s operations, allowing the firm to secure sufficient funds to expand its card technology across other areas, including STOs, ICOs, stablecoins and more.