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Government to launch blockchain committee in September

The first meeting of a steering committee to plot the future of blockchain technology for The Bahamas is set to take place in early September, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday.

Turnquest, who was speaking at the signing of a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), said blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the way business and finance are done in this country.

“Blockchain, while still in its early stages, is a pivotal technology that is shaping our 21st century futures; indeed, it has already reshaped the future of the financial sector,” he said.

“As a government, we are intent on being at the forefront of these changes so we can harness the power of technology to facilitate innovation and economic growth in The Bahamas.

“Similar to the Internet, which allowed small countries to leapfrog into the future, blockchain has the potential to dramatically improve the ease of doing business with the government, and to create entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians.”

One local blockchain expert, Deep Minds CEO Jason Leach, told Guardian Business recently that The Bahamas has to be the first to pioneer and pilot a palatable framework for cryptocurrency exchanges in order to leap ahead of the global market. Leach was the featured speaker at a blockchain and cryptocurrency event last night.

According to Leach, if The Bahamas does not act fast enough to become a global leader in blockchain and cryptocurrency, the country will simply be playing “catch up” in terms of regulation and framework production.

Leach hopes to hold monthly meetings on blockchain and to build a community of people interested in moving a blockchain and cryptocurrency exchange forward for The Bahamas.

Turnquest said yesterday that The Bahamas still has a long way to go in order to recognize the opportunities of blockchain. Meantime, the government is exploring blockchain legislation.

“We want to demonstrate what is possible, and to make sure the legal and regulatory framework is in place to unleash the opportunities in the private sector,” he said.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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