The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), an equatorial nation in the Pacific Ocean, will soon launch the world’s first decentralised digital national cryptocurrency, the Sovereign, SOV.
According to a press release, the producer of blockchain smart card wallets, Tangem, announced it will issue the physical banknotes of the sovereign. Once issued (SOV) will join the U.S. dollar as the official legal tender of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Marshall Islands SOV cryptocurrency Resembles Real Banknotes
The SOV blockchain banknotes are designed to resemble traditional banknotes, but with a hard plastic finish. Embedded inside is a blockchain-enabled microprocessor that will allow them to be used like a cryptocurrency. This includes the transparency, security and decentralization that is found in typical cryptocurrencies but with the added benefit of an exchangeable, physical form.
“We are excited to partner with the Republic of the Marshall Islands to do something that has never been done before: issue a digital currency as official legal tender,” said Andrey Kurennykh, co-founder and CTO of Tangem.
The plan is a visionary one for the remote Micronesian nation. The Marshall Islands has a population of just over 50 000 and is spread across 29 coral atolls that are made up of more than 1000 islands and islets. When it was first announced in November 2018, it prompted a parliamentary vote of no confidence to be tabled against President Hilda Heine. The president, the only female leader in the Pacific Islands, survived the motion by one vote, and said afterwards that “Chinese interests” were trying to force her from office. Opposition politicians feared that her plans to turn the islands into a crypto-led fintech hub risked harming the country’s image and would turn the nation into a centre for money laundering and terrorist financing.
The press release states that he Tangem/SOV partnership is designed to ensure all citizens of the Marshall Islands have fair and equal access to their digital currency, whether or not they have internet connection. The immediate transaction validation, zero fees and no internet requirements for end users means that people will be able to use the off-chain physical circulation of the SOV and it will not impose the increased technical infrastructure burdens on the nation.