The Central Bank of the Bahamas is planning to introduce a government-backed pilot digital currency, Jamaica Observer reported June 22.
Speaking at the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference earlier this week, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Bahamas, K Peter Turnquest, made the announcement, saying that the development of a fully digital payment service is “the way forward for this era of governance.” Turnquest continued:
“A digital Bahamian currency is especially important for the many family islands as they have seen many commercial banks downsize and pull out of their communities, leaving them without banking services. As an island nation, where transportation can be an inconvenience for many, especially the elderly, and costly, we must offer financial services digitally and securely.”
Turnquest also advocated for applying blockchain on a nationwide level in order to transform the island of Grand Bahama into the “digital paradise of the region.” He reportedly expects the government to launch a pilot program of issuing blockchain-based education certificates for graduates of the National Training Agency, as well as inspect the ways blockchain can be applied for business licences, passports, and national insurance. Turnquest added:
“Using technology and single points of contact we're able to eliminate a lot of the human element that facilitates corruption, and so when we talk about applying for government services, if we have a single portal for entry and all of the processing being done behind the scenes, either through electronic data interchange or through human facilitation we can eliminate that point where, we Bahamians call it, you have to tip somebody in order to get service.”
The nearby island nation of Bermuda is also in the process of developing a friendly legal framework for virtual currencies and blockchain. In past months, the country signed memoranda of understanding with Binance Group and blockchain project Shyft. The former considers establishing funding for educational programs related to fintech and blockchain startups while per the latter, Shyft network will spend up to $10 million on blockchain technology education and economic development.