Rum sales in digital dollars
A digital dollar can be used to buy rum on the island in a pilot project that could be expanded to include other companies.
The rum company will accept touchless payment through the Stellar network.
A Stellar spokesman explained: “Through a series of fintech education workshops, Penrose has trained a select group of participants from the public and private sector in order to familiarise themselves with blockchain technology and this new-age payments application.
“The workshops concluded with an opportunity for participants to apply their knowledge and redeem their Bidali digital Bermuda dollar balance at Gosling’s for a custom gift bag, including a bottle of Gosling's Black Seal Rum and Stormy Ginger Beer, the quintessential ingredients to make the world-famous Dark ‘n’ Stormy.”
He added that the people who used the touchless payment scheme said it was like redemption of a gift card.
The spokesman said: “Initial feedback from the pilot was extremely positive and participants were keen to provide their insights to encourage further progress on this project.
“This feedback is of great value to all parties involved in the pilot as it will contribute to the growth of this payments solution to other businesses in Bermuda, once Bidali acquires the appropriate licensing from the Bermuda Monetary Authority.”
He added that it was the first time the Stellar network was used to “process real world” transactions with the support of a country’s government.
Eric Kryski, Bidali’s chief executive, said: “It’s been a few years in the making so it’s very exciting to see this becoming a reality.
“Blockchain technology has the ability to transform many aspects of global commerce. Low cost payments is just the tip of the iceberg.
“With this pilot we’re looking forward to seeing people get hands-on experience with this technology and start to realise the benefits.
“From there we hope to expand to other businesses in Bermuda and in the years to come, help enable a thriving financial ecosystem that could revolutionise commercial payments, payroll, and cross-border trade finance, providing a meaningful economic impact to all Bermudians.”
Denis Pitcher, the Government’s fintech consultant, said that the pilot was “an exciting next step” in plans to make the island a leading financial technology hub.
He added: “Having Gosling's, Bermuda’s oldest business house, largest exporter and one of Bermuda’s best known brands embrace this pilot and its cutting edge technology is a testament to Bermuda’s ability to continuously reinvent itself and the willingness of Bermudians to embrace innovation.”
Ambrose Gosling, the rum company’s senior finance manager, said that the firm was “honoured” to have the chance to work on the project, which celebrated the completion of a refurbishment at its shop on the corner of Front and Queen Streets in Hamilton.
He added: “For us, this was a no-brainer. Having just reopened our newly renovated flagship retail store, why wouldn’t we take our refurbishment a step further by embracing the newest technology?
“For us, the opportunity is twofold. In the short term, drive awareness of and foot traffic in our newly renovated store, while in the long run, contribute to and encourage the development of technology driven solutions that will ultimately have the potential to drive efficiencies and cost savings to doing business in Bermuda.
“It’s this last point that we take the most pride in.”
Mr Gosling added: “For context, we pay upwards to 3.25 per cent in commissions for credit card transactions which can then take several business days to actually deposit into our bank account.
“Through the use of more efficient technology, the potential is there to settle transactions instantly and for a fraction of the cost.
“Such savings can then be passed on to the consumer and/or reinvested in our business.
“This is money that would now have the opportunity to circulate in the local economy instead of being immediately siphoned off the top.
“To be clear, I think we have a ways to go to get to this point, but pilot projects such as this are a monumental step towards it and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”