The Marshall Islands will soon launch its long-awaited national cryptocurrency after almost two years of planning, with the stablecoin set to launch on the Algorand blockchain. The national currency, called the Marshallese sovereign (SOV), will be launched and operated in association with SFB Technologies, who recommended the Algorand blockchain for the project.
Today, the Republic of the Marshall Islands announced the first national digital currency, the Marshallese sovereign (SOV), will be built using Algorand’s #blockchain: https://t.co/8fS6adYj2b @SOV_Foundation #digitalmoney #SOV @jpwgnr pic.twitter.com/qkiFQmxPgy
— Algorand (@Algorand) March 2, 2020
A Long and Winding Road
Hilda Heine, president of the Marshall Islands, first proposed to run a national cryptocurrency alongside the US dollar in early 2018, a plan that attracted immediate and widespread concern, resulting in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) publicly warning against the idea in September of that year, citing concerns over the lack of regulatory control over cryptocurrencies at the time.
As a result of the proposal, Heine faced a vote of no confidence just two months later, with a group of senators protesting against her decision to go against the warnings of the IMF. However, Heine managed to survive the attempt, giving her a free hand to push on with her plans. There were suggestions the SOV would launch last year but this never came to fruition, leaving many to wonder if it would ever happen, which it finally seems it is.
Marshall Islands Claim First Prize
While there is no confirmed launch date as yet, a press release from Algorand confirmed that it is now only a matter of time before the token launches. In the press release, Kenneth Kedi, Speaker of the Marshallese Parliament, spoke of his excitement over the imminent launch:
I am excited about the technological partnership with Algorand. With it, a strong alliance is forming to develop the SOV project. This is another milestone towards developing the Marshall Islands financial services industry.
The SOV will be the world’s first official national cryptocurrency, although some would argue that honor already belongs to Venezuela, whose president Nicolás Maduro enforced launched his Petro cryptocurrency in 2018.