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Central Bank releases EOI for digital currency

The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) is searching for a qualified company to produce technology that would be able to house a Central Bank-issued digital currency system. The currency could be piloted in the Family Islands in less than three years, according to the bank.

CBOB released an expression of interest (EOI) on the digital currency on Wednesday. The bank said based on the responses to that EOI, companies will be chosen to design the platform for the digital version of the Bahamian dollar.

“Firms so selected may be invited to respond to a detailed request for proposals (RFP),” the EOI said.

“If an RFP is released, a notice will be published on the bank’s website at www.centralbankbahamas.com. Only pre-qualified firms will receive copies of any detailed requirements.”

CBOB wants to pilot the digital currency in the Family Islands, especially because many of the people living on those islands are unbanked, and are in need of ways to send and receive money.

According to CBOB, it is looking for vendors to supply digital solutions like blockchain, or maybe similar ledger solutions to house The Bahamas’ digital currency.

“The bank expects to identify the best fit-for-purpose solution having regard to any possibility of existing digital payments solutions, including, but not limited to, distributed ledger technology and/or blockchain services; interoperability needs across all payments system participants; and the imperative for universal transition from cash dependence in the remote, lesser populated islands of The Bahamas,” CBOB said in its EOI.

“Interested parties are expected to provide their own version of the conceptual framework and roadmap with respect to these technologies and services.

“The bank recognizes the transformative potential of technology and is interested in better understanding the current market, having regard to the transactions processing speed demand of electronic payments, versus other security assurances promised by state of the art financial technology (fintech) solutions. The identified solution would be piloted in a smaller Family Island community before its application in the rest of the country.”

The Central Bank said the digital currency could offer security and versatility and become a currency “superior to cash”.

The EOI said parties interested in responding should submit a white paper outlining experience and resources relevant to supporting The Bahamas’ digital currency initiative, no later than September 15, 2018.

The bank added that a digital version of the Bahamian dollar will still require legal and regulatory reforms, “to ensure full inter-operability among existing and new channels for the provision of payment services; standards to safeguard consumer protection and personal data sovereignty and standards for non-discriminatory access to electronic money on terms that are no less favorable than for cash”.

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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