The Central Bank of the Bahamas (CBOB) will soon sign an agreement with technology solutions provider NZIA Limited to develop The Bahamas’ national digital currency, The Nassau Guardian reports today. The parties are expected to sign the agreement tomorrow, engaging the company to design and develop a national digital currency and payment system that could be ready for testing by 2020.
The digital currency project has been dubbed ‘Project Sand Dollar” and is part of The Bahamas’ effort to modernize its digital payment system and improve financial inclusion for everyone on the islands. The bank had identified NZIA Limited as its “preferred technology solutions provider” in early March and has been in negotiations with the company to determine the “final terms and scope” of the contract.
The initiative is just one part of The Bahamas’ broader effort to modernize its technology infrastructure. The government has also been working to integrate blockchain and other financial technology into the islands’ financial services industry.
The new digital payments system and currency are expected to provide residents with a host of new benefits, and will likely be piloted on the remote Family Islands first:
At a time when banking services are limited in many remote Family Islands, the digital dollar is expected to provide residents with equal, expanded access to modernized digital payment capabilities while improving the overall level of financial inclusion in communities throughout the archipelago.
The central bank has yet to announce on which Family Islands the pilot program will be run, however Central Bank Governor John Rolle said the bank is aiming to implement a fully digital payment service for the Family Islands by 2020.