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beenz Jump onto Mondex Cards

In a move that will be seen as a very positive endorsement of its "Web currency," beenz.com announced this week that Mondex International will debut a beenz-carrying smart card.

The two companies say that their products are "complementary but distinct" and believe the agreement will extend the market reach of both beenz and Mondex e-cash. A new smart card will carry the two currencies together with a selection of e-commerce services.

"We can now deliver cash and beenz in potentially all electronic environments, breaking down the manifestly false distinction between on-line and off-line commerce," said Charles Cohen, founder and chief technology officer of beenz.com.

"These can scale from reverse-payments in beenz where merchants pay consumers to visit their sites, to cash purchases using Mondex, all of which can be delivered at zero cost."

Mondex, which has recently been enhanced to run on the high security MULTOS smart card platform, is under development in more than 75 countries. It is designed to work in the real world for payment of over-the-counter services as well as for paying for goods on the Internet.

Unlike Mondex e-cash, beenz cannot be bought directly by consumers. Web users earn their beenz by visiting and shopping at Web sites which offer the currency as a reward. UK Web sites that carry beenz include VNU, MORI, Excite and ebookers.

"In partnering with Mondex International, we are able to leverage the company's expertise and trusted technology to deliver beenz in a secure, portable format that enhances our position as a vital tool for e-commerce," said Philip Letts, chairman and chief executive officer of beenz.com.

The statistics for beenz are beginning to stack up: with over 14 million transactions by 440,000 consumers, and 450 million beenz in circulation.