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Digital currency pilot attracts interest

The pilot phase of Project Sand Dollar, the Central Bank of the Bahamas' digital currency, has already attracted over 1,300 active users and 2,000 pending users as it is rolled out in Exuma and Abaco before being launched across the country. 

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TheBahamasInvestor.com
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The pilot phase of Project Sand Dollar, the Central Bank of The Bahamas’ digital currency, has already attracted over 1,300 active users and 2,000 pending users as it is rolled out in Exuma and Abaco before being launched across the country.

Speaking during a recent webinar hosted by Compete Caribbean, Bobby Chen, assistant manager in banking (ePayments) for the Central Bank of The Bahamas touted the success of the pilot and added that 30 to 40 Bahamian businesses have created digital point of sales to enable them to accept the virtual dollar.


The Central Bank launched Project Sand Dollar in 2018 to increase financial inclusion by providing a secure and efficient alternative payment infrastructure. The pilot phase launched earlier this year and is expected to take six months, but the coronavirus outbreak and resulting quarantine measures have temporarily stalled work in the islands.

“It has been a challenge with Covid-19 because we have not been on the ground as much,” said Chen who added that the team had been hosting town halls, seminars and community meetings to raise awareness of the project and what exactly it entails. He noted that these efforts were especially important given The Bahamas’ reliance on fiat currency, saying: “It is a challenge because we have been cash heavy for so long and it is tough to break old habits. Education is certainly important.”

According to Chen, the Sand Dollar will spur innovation and growth once up and running, benefitting both businesses and consumers. “This will enhance e-commerce [and] empower young entrepreneurs to operate online and accept alternative forms of payment,” he said. “Financial institutions will be better informed of credit history and credit worthiness to enhance micro-lending. It will also enable families to manage their expenditures better.”

“This project will promote financial inclusion and led to more inclusive economic growth. We are very excited. We are optimistic that the future will be bright.”

The Caribbean Development Bank has earmarked $140 million to help borrowing member countries, including The Bahamas, weather the economic impact of Covid-19.

Butterfield bank has announced that it will release first quarter 2020 financial results following the close of the New York Stock Exchange April 30, 2020.

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