As the Central Bank of The Bahamas continues its rollout of its newest digital dollar, payment services providers (PSPs) say moving forward it is their hope to have the Sand Dollar fully integrated with their platforms, making it the currency of choice for Bahamians.
“The Sand Dollar application is really only a reference and what that means is, it’s not available for public consumption. We want to integrate the Sand Dollar into the Kanoo platform. We are working with the Central Bank’s professionals to making that happen and once that occurs you will then be able to see Kanoo and Sand Dollar operating seamlessly, such that Sand Dollar would fulfil its intended purpose, which is to act as a digital currency,” Kanoo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Keith Davies said in an interview with Guardian Business.
“So, the physical paper dollar in your hand, Sand Dollar is the digital currency on your platform and that platform will be Kanoo. So that’s the way forward as it relates to digital currency and then it will become seamless in terms of transacting, using the Kanoo platform and the Sand Dollar.”
Davies’ company Kanoo participated in a staff onboarding event at the Central Bank on Monday. So far, his company has over 1,200 individuals on the Kanoo platform.
“What they were able to do, they were able to pay us for Kanoo cash by transferring their Sand Dollars to us, because we too have a Sand Dollar account, so that’s money being transferred to us and then we were able to load their Kanoo app. So, if you send $5 in Sand Dollars to us, we put $5 in Kanoo cash onto your phone and that money can then be used to shop at any one of your merchants,” he said.
“Of course, we have Super Value, we have Evolve Functional Fitness, we have Nicole’s Beauty Supply and there are a number of others coming on that we are going to let people know about through our app and other social media platforms. But today was very successful, I’m happy we were able to facilitate a number of new users coming onto the platform and I congratulate the Central Bank for continuing to provide the avenues for us to engage persons to come onto Sand Dollar but also to Kanoo.”
Consultant at BAF Financial and Cash N’ Go Hubert Edwards said those companies are looking forward to expanded commerce on far flung islands without banking facilities, now that the Sand Dollar infrastructure is complete.
“Certainly, for The Bahamas itself being an archipelago and the experience of Abaco it certainly provides an opportunity for there to be more commerce. And the fact that you can provide financial services without having to be physically there. So I think the Sand Dollar is a very important and fundamental program as you move out into the future. As you look out into the world, recently we heard news coming out of Europe that there are some countries that don’t even use cash. And so, we’re moving more and more into a cashless economy and a cashless kind of commerce and so the Sand Dollar is the first big step in that particular direction,” Edwards said.
“Logistically, let’s use an example: if you are in Cat Island or in Inagua and you have the ability to be paid by Sand Dollar or receive Sand Dollars and you can use that to purchase goods and services then it becomes a phenomenal thing. You do not need to come here (to New Providence) as most persons do, so there is business taking place on the family islands.”
The Sand Dollar was officially launched on December 27 on Exuma.
The Central Bank intends to have the platform introduced on Abaco by the end of February.