Beenz.com and Mondex International Ltd., a division ofMasterCard International Inc., said yesterday that they are jointly developing a smart card capable of carrying both Mondex's own digital cash and beenz. Beenz are "value tokens" that users accumulate while browsing or shopping at certain Web sites, including The Motley Fool and MP3.com, and then redeem for products and services at other participating Internet venues. The goal is to drive use of beenz and Mondex E-cash as a standard currency for making transactions not only over the Web, via PCs and wireless devices, but also in the brick-and-mortar world.
"Now beenz can be exchanged in any environment where the smart card can be used," says Charles Cohen, founder and chief technology officer of beenz.com. "We hope to see them downloaded at stores, mass transit, fitness clubs--the opportunities are embarrassing." Beenz and Mondex's E-cash will be complementary to each other: The two companies hope to enlist merchants and service providers to offer beenz for transactions completed with Mondex E-cash and vice versa. The companies say participating merchants will benefit from increased customer interest and traffic.
"It is a great strategic move for beenz," says Melissa Shore, an analyst at Jupiter Communications. "This collaboration will lend them credibility as an international Web currency, not simply a system to gauge online loyalty."
The smart card is planned to be developed using Multos, a high security, multiapplication operating system. It is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2000.