Greater focus on digital currency in aftermath of Dorian

Digital currency is being given even closer consideration in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, as The Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) considers ways, using technology, to get payments to hurricane-affected islands quicker, CBOB Governor John Rolle said yesterday.

Rolle, who was a guest on Guardian Radio 96.9’s Z Live, said as the central bank is only weeks away from launching its digital dollar pilot program on Exuma, the technology is now being looked at as a way of getting payment systems on hurricane-ravaged islands when even banks have been decimated by a storm.

A means of making deposits, withdrawals and payments is key to getting people on Grand Bahama and Abaco back to normalcy, Rolle said.

“As banks get back on their feet in Abaco the ATM (automated teller machine) services will be restored and then eventually the physical branches will reopen,” Rolle said.

“You don’t have to fly digital money to places and businesses; don’t have to hire armored vehicles to deposit digital money. So when you look at what the central bank is trying to do with digital currency, we see tremendous opportunities in terms of how we plan the recovery of damaged economic zones after hurricanes.”

Rolle lamented, however, that even with digital currency the infrastructure needed for residents to spend that digital money needs to be in place.

He added that communications infrastructure will also need to be in place after a storm for digital currency to be viable, though he explained there is technology that can be quickly put in place to facilitate the use of digital currency.

“Imagine a government goes into a disaster zone and needs to give some financial assistance and does not have to take a briefcase of cash, but is able to give people credit which they can immediately spend,” Rolle said.

“I see those types of recovery strategies and solutions materializing and we are weeks away from doing those sorts of piloted exercises in Exuma.”

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Chester Robards

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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