The Bahamas’ first central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Sand Dollar, was listed as the top retail digital currency in the just released PwC Global CBDC Index.
The Bahamas beat out world financial giants including China and Sweden to land at the top spot, with the Sand Dollar receiving a global retail index of 92.
While more than 60 central banks have been exploring digital currencies since at least 2014, only 23 percent of retail projects reached the implementation stage.
Cambodia is the only other nation with a live CBDC and is ranked second on the list.
“Retail CBDC projects appear to be more advanced in emerging economies with financial inclusion stated as an expected outcome. Wholesale efforts are mostly conducted in more advanced economies with more developed interbank systems and capital markets,” the PwC CBDC Global Index 1st Edition states.
“Looking at the most advanced projects globally, retail efforts have already produced two live projects in The Bahamas and Cambodia.”
The Sand Dollar may be the first wholesale project as well, as The Central Bank of The Bahamas announced last month that it expects to imminently complete the technical integration of the Sand Dollar’s digital infrastructure with the commercial banking system.
PwC stated that just about 70 percent of declared wholesale projects are currently running pilot programs with the majority of them – 88 percent – using blockchain technology.
“We believe CBDCs will contribute significantly to the modernization of the international monetary landscape, hand-in-hand with reconfiguration in both payment and financial infrastructure. They will generate numerous opportunities for further digitization in both corporate and financial institutions, as their integration in payment and financial infrastructure progresses,” PwC states in the report.
“Seizing these exciting opportunities will require operational, legal and regulatory process upgrades as well as an alignment of accounting and internal control measures. PwC has developed a ‘one-stop-shop’ offering which includes strategy, legal, regulatory, accounting, tax, governance, risk assurance, audit, cybersecurity as well as transaction advisory.”
Nine payment service providers (PSPs) have been authorized to distribute Sand Dollars in The Bahamas.
The Central Bank is in the process of finalizing new regulations to govern and safeguard the financial market infrastructure and financial integrity of digital currency transactions in The Bahamas and plans to have those new rules issued by May 1.