Central Bank eyeing international use of Sand Dollar

As The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) prepares to roll out the nation’s first digital currency next week, bank officials said yesterday that they are already looking toward the next step of making the Sand Dollar interoperable with other global currencies.

After launching a pilot on Exuma late last year, CBOB then introduced the digital currency to Abaco earlier this year.

The Central Bank intends to release the digital fiat currency nationally on October 20.

Bobby Chen, CBOB assistant manager of electronic solutions, said, “At the moment, it is currently only used in a domestic setting, but eventually we are working on a solution that will make it interoperable with other global currencies.”

Chen was speaking during a Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation virtual presentation for businesses ahead of the Sand Dollar rollout, during which the first six authorized financial institutions (AFIs) that have been granted the ability to provide Sand Dollars to the Bahamian public were announced: Omni Financial Group, Cash and Go, Mobile Assist, Kanoo, Money Maxx and Sun Cash.

A major component of the national rollout, according to CBOB Head of Banking Cleopatra Davis, is the API (application programming interfaces) card-less onboarding.

“Some of the central strategies around Sand Dollar is the API card-less onboarding. This became extremely important during the time of COVID-19 because we realized it’s not business as we know it prior to COVID-19. So, mobility and face-to-face may not be as easily accessible,” she said.

“So, through the API card-less onboarding you’re going to be able to have access to Sand Dollar without physically entering a business place to do so.”

Another strategy development is the Sand Dollar’s offline functionality.

“This is critical as we would have seen with Hurricane Dorian. How do we continue to transact if we don’t have electricity, if we don’t have a cell phone network? This is a key component, a key strategy that was built into the Sand Dollar platform,” Davis said.

“Also, the need to be interoperable with other wallets. That’s a key strategy that we’re working on as well as the RTGS/ACH integration, which would allow the movement of Sand Dollar to and from your bank account, which would then convert to fiat as it hit your bank account.”

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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