PopID and SunCash announced today that for the first time in history, consumers can now use the PopPay face verification platform to purchase goods and services with a central bank digital currency (CBDC) – digital money issued and backed by a government.
Bahamian consumers can now link their SunCash account to PopPay to enable face pay transactions using their Sand Dollars. They can then spend the digital currency at a network of SunCash merchants using just their face for authentication. Various local and global brands are or will be accepting digital Sand Dollars authenticated by PopPay through the SunCash platform.
"PopPay's cutting edge technology provides a more consumer-friendly, seamless, and secure experience for SunCash's users," said Desmond Pyfrom, CEO of SunCash. The existing apps for transacting in digital Sand Dollar generally require consumers' use of smart phones, QR codes, or various other codes to complete a transaction at the point of sale. "With the integration of the PopPay platform into the SunCash App, Bahamian consumers can now quickly, efficiently, and safely use the digital Sand Dollar to purchase food and other products even if the consumer does not have a functional smart phone or an internet connection," said Pyfrom, as is the case for thousands of Bahamians.1
The world is quickly moving towards central bank digital currencies—accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the growth of cryptocurrencies. As of 2022, fourteen countries have launched CBDCs, or are in advanced pilots, and approximately 90 countries, accounting for over ninety percent of global GDP, are considering issuing CBDCs, according to the Atlantic Council.
The Bahamas was the first country to launch a CBDC when it deployed the Sand Dollar nationwide in October 2020. As part of that program, a limited number of supervised financial institutions were authorized to sponsor a mobile payment wallet for the digital dollar of the Bahamas. SunCash was one of the supervised financial institutions approved by the Central Bank of The Bahamas.
"The PopPay platform is designed to allow consumers to link any payment method to their face, including credit cards, debit cards, direct bank transfers, stablecoins, and CBDCs," said John Miller, CEO of PopID and Chairman of its holding company, Cali Group. "With governments around the world increasingly implementing CBDCs to replace physical cash, PopPay serves the critical policy objective of ensuring that all people can transact with the currency."
"We applaud SunCash for its deployment of this solution that allows Bahamians to transact in Sand Dollar using only their face," said John Rolle, Governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas. "Such security features are important to increasing personal comfort around the use of digital payments and advancing the Central Bank's goal of increasing financial inclusion among all segments of our society."
A face pay option is an important feature for any country with the goal of increasing financial inclusion with the adoption of a CBDC, as those that are unbanked, under-banked, or without smartphones or reliable internet tend to be the most vulnerable parts of society.
Keith Russell of AD+ECH GLOBAL facilitated the partnership between PopID and SunCash.