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The Central Bank of the Bahamas (CBOB) today officially introduced its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), the “Sand Dollar.” This makes the Bahamas one of the first countries in the world to launch a CBDC beyond a pilot program.
The information was shared during a webinar broadcast on Facebook via the dedicated Sand Dollar page. Today, the 386,000 inhabitants of the archipelago can create a digital wallet on their smartphone and carry out transactions.
The entire Sand Dollar ecosystem will transit through smartphones, and Bahamian merchants can accept it as a means of payment.
Tech firm NZIA was chosen as the technological partner for the deployment of the Sand Dollar. NZIA specializes in developing solutions compatible with existing regulatory and financial frameworks.
The Central Bank of the Bahamas justified the deployment of its CBDC on the official Sand Dollar website.
“The goal is to promote more inclusive access to regulated payments and other financial services for underserved communities and socio-economic groups, as well as reduce service delivery costs and increase transaction efficiency for financial services. across the Bahamas. “
Each Sand Dollar represents a Bahamian dollar, pegged to the US dollar. Also, the CBOB claims that the fees required to complete a transaction are negligible, without giving further details.
Frontrunners in CBDC deployment
This CBDC had been in the works for several years, although things accelerated last year when it was publicly announced.
The Sand Dollar project has been the subject of a pilot program since October 2019, when 48,000 units were in circulation on the islands of Exuma and Abaco.
Although the Sand Dollar is rolling out nationally reasonably quickly, the project already looks quite mature. The Central Bank of the Bahamas (CBOB) assures that its entire ecosystem is already operational.
The institution hopes that inhabitants of the Bahamas will have equal and expanded access to digital means of payment. At the same time, a reduction in cash transactions is also planned by the CBOB.
This new payment infrastructure will reduce service delivery costs and increase transaction efficiency. It will also improve the general level of financial inclusion of communities throughout the archipelago.
Along with the Petro (PRT) of Venezuela, the Sand Dollar is one of the first sovereign digital currencies to emerge. Although the challenge is less compared to the deployment of the digital yuan in China, the Bahamas are proving to the world their lead on a technology that is still very young.