The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) anticipates design changes to its Sand Dollar digital currency that could assist with the payment needs arising as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, CBOB Governor John Rolle told Guardian Business, adding that the bank has no intention of moving the project forward faster because of the viral outbreak.
When asked about the touchless nature of a digital payment system and its ability to reduce human contact in cases where there is fear of viral transmission, as well as its potential use in speeding up social welfare payments to those who need it through the Sand Dollar app, Rolle said those enhancements are being considered.
He said, though, that the Sand Dollar pilot project on Exuma and Abaco will remain the only use of Sand Dollars for now.
“The Central Bank anticipates some design enhancements that might address new payments needs that are now arising, but we still have to use the pilot in its limited confines of Abaco and Exuma to consider these,” Rolle said.
“The Sand Dollar infrastructure is already developing on an ambitious timeline and adjusting to constraints in getting equipment and supplies to The Bahamas.”
Rolle said while the Sand Dollar could be useful in the midst of the country’s expanding COVID-19 crisis, its expansion now would be “intolerably risky”.
The pilot of the Sand Dollar digital payments platform was rolled out on Exuma late last year and then expanded to Abaco to assist with payment solutions as a result of Hurricane Dorian.