Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) Manager and Head of Banking Cleopatra Davis said based on the high level of interest in the Central Bank’s digital currency and the fast enrollment of new users, she believes the platform will be rolled out to more areas in The Bahamas sooner rather than later. CBOB enrolled its employees onto the platform yesterday.
“The initial intent was that we were not going to roll out in New Providence until later, towards the tail end, but we already see that based on interdependencies across companies doing business in New Providence that we will likely have some companies enrolled with Sand Dollar earlier rather than later. So, we anticipate over the next two to three months we’re likely to see some of the major suppliers enrolled,” she said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“I think the Sand Dollar message is spreading across The Bahamas and we will be moving to some of the other islands rather quickly. The initial launch in Exuma was scheduled for six months, which we intend to continue. However, we’ll be moving into Abaco towards the end of February and Abaco has been moved up the list because of the impact of Hurricane Dorian and we find that there’s a real need for access to financial services, which may not happen through the traditional means and we’re hoping that Sand Dollar can bridge that gap.”
The Central Bank held a closed pilot enrollment exercise for members of its staff yesterday.
“On December 27 we rolled out on Exuma as the pilot and we were extremely excited about it, and as Central Bank employees are typically the first point of contact from the general public in terms of what’s happening and how does it work, we thought it would be a great idea to launch an internal pilot for all of our employees so that everyone can have a hands-on, first-hand access to Sand Dollar and have the ability to see how it works, so that we can better represent to the Bahamian public all of the various elements and facets of Sand Dollar,” Davis said.
Already 1800 persons and a number of businesses have signed up for Project Sand Dollar. To date roughly 3,000 people and businesses are pending for inclusion on the platform, according to Davis.
“We’re really excited about the interest and the activity that’s happening around Sand Dollar. We have a number of major businesses in Exuma that have already signed up, including some of the supermarkets, gas stations, as well as Scotiabank in Exuma, they’re all ready and the list is growing,” she said.
“One of the key drivers with this initiative with the Central Bank was financial inclusion and I think we’re seeing the need just based on the enrollment number and the level of interest. It’s very important to be able to have residents and Bahamians have easy access to financial services and the ease of doing business.”