A commercial bank in Mauritius has inked a deal with blockchain lending startup SALT to test the use of digital assets as collateral for loans.
The “exploratory” deal between the State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) and SALT, which offers a platform allowing users to borrow against their cryptocurrency holdings, will see the bank testing that specific application.
The development represents the latest step in a wider effort to make Mauritius – an island nation in the Indian Ocean with an estimated population of 1.2 million people – a hub for blockchain startups. That goal, advanced by local officials this past spring, was echoed in statements from the bank.
K.C. Li Kwong Wing, chairman of the SBM Group, said of the partnership:
“This relationship will go a long way toward achieving our nation’s goal of becoming a hub for outstanding blockchain companies and fostering financial inclusion.”
Notably, the chairman indicated that the bank was interested in potentially forming part of the startup’s lending services, which could see SBM providing financing for the platform. That said, discussions on that particular point appear to be in the early stages.
“We are keen to explore providing banking services to this innovative company,” he said.
As part of the Mauritian government’s plans to develop the island as a blockchain center, representatives from ethereum startup ConsenSys visited the nation over the summer to meet with members of both the public and private sector. The ultimate aim of the exploratory talks was to create a so-called “Ethereum Island” to assist blockchain innovators seeking to branch out into Africa, Asia and elsewhere.