The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) is set to move one step closer toward a nation-wide digital payment structure as it looks to ink a business partnership with transaction provider NZIA.io on May 30, 2019. This according to a report by The Nassau Guardian, published on May 29, 2019.
Project “Sand Dollar”
To the east of Miami, Florida, the Bahamas is getting ready to develop and implement its first digital currency called “Project Sand Dollar.”
Reportedly, on May 30, 2019, the CBOB will sign an official agreement with NZIA.io marking the first step in the development of a digital currency which is expected to be launched across the archipelago by 2020.
Per the statement by the CBOB, Project Sand Dollar will be an “integrated, affordable electronic payment system for all businesses and residents.” The bank added that the project will fully comply with the local financial regulations and that it will aim to reduce the country’s dependency on cash transactions.
Notably, the island nation’s central bank first announced its plans to launch a blockchain-based digital currency in June last year. At the time, the country’s Minister of Finance, K. Peter Turnquest, noted that it “had become increasingly essential to create a national blockchain-powered virtual currency for the nation to cater to the financial needs of the many unbanked Bahamian families.”
The Minister’s statement hardly came as a surprise as many of the country’s citizens do not have ready access to banking services due to them living in remote Family Islands.
As previously reported by BTCManager on May 21, 2019, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas had escalated the proposal to create a new regulatory framework for the issuance and sale of digital tokens when it proposed the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Bill.
Divided Opinions on CBDCs
The topic of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) is one of the most divisive ones in the global blockchain and financial services space.
BTCManager reported on October 22, 2018, how the governor of Bank of Japan had expressed significant doubts about the effectiveness of CBDCs. Conversely, an executive from the European Central Bank recently backed the idea and explored the possibilities of integrating such a product into today’s economy.