While major players in the industry argue that central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are years or decades ahead, the Bahamas plans to adopt a CBDC by 2020 at the latest.
John Rolle, governor of the Central Bank of the Bahamas (CBOB), has reportedly confirmed that the Bahamian digital dollar initiative will be introduced to all islands in the second half of 2020.
The Bahamas has already launched a pilot project in the Exuma region
According to a report released on February 13 by local publication The Tribune, Rolle presented the plan for a Bahamian chamber of commerce and a confederation of employers to the initiative, which is called the Sand Dollar project.
In fact, the Bahamas already deployed the pilot project on Exuma Island in December. As such, the governor of the CBOB has stated that the pilot will be extended to the Abaco region, which was originally the first choice for the pilot of digital currency. Rolle explained that the CBOB decided to start with Exuma:
“Abaco was actually the first choice for the digital currency pilot. […] But we felt that what was missing in Abaco was that financial inclusion, or the issue of financial access, was not as striking in the sense that all the banks were present. But in terms of the ecosystem, it would have been just as rich. “
According to the report, Bahaman’s central bank is still recruiting the 1,200 people who signed up for the pilot at Exuma. At least 2,000 people have also expressed interest in participating in the initiative in the region, the report notes.
Governor emphasizes that Sand Dollar is only a digital representation of Fiat
In the report, the governor pointed out that the next Bahamian dollar would be nothing more than a digital representation of the country’s currency, the Bahamian dollar (BSD). Rolle stressed:
“We are looking for a digital representation of our currency. It is not a different currency; it’s the same currency. In law, it will never be different. It cannot differ in value in any way, so the sand dollars can never be different from the Bahamian dollars. “
The governor noted that the Sand Dollar was originally intended only for domestic use. However, it is also possible that it is linked to a foreign currency, Rolle reportedly said. The official explained that this can only be done in the event of explicit purchase and sale of foreign currency.
The CBOB governor also noted that the Bahamas “may be a little ahead of some countries” in terms of timing. Rolle said:
“We are not going to go to the rest of the Bahamas until the second half of the year, and it depends on certain things, like during the pilot project which examines many more problems around technological infrastructure, ensuring that the legal framework is more developed around regulations, etc., and devotes a little time to dealing with a large number of cyber problems. “
Recently, the founder of the main digital currency asset manager, Grayscale Investments, claimed that Bitcoin (BTC) would benefit from the world’s central banks issuing their own cryptocurrencies.