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Sand Dollar integration with commercial banks by early Sept.

By the beginning of September, digital wallet holders and businesses will be able to transfer Sand Dollars in and out of their commercial bank accounts, Central Bank Governor John Rolle said yesterday.

His comments come as the Central Bank begins its campaign to ramp up greater adoption of its Sand Dollar digital currency to the wider Bahamian public.

The Central Bank has been working toward the integration of its digital currency platform with the real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) and automated clearing house (ACH) system for some time, realizing that that will be a major catalyst toward greater adoption.

“We are beginning to work with the commercial banks and the credit unions, they are coming on board. What they’re going to be doing is also connecting their customers with mobile wallets that function in Sand Dollars. Even before those banks come on board, if you have a Sand Dollar wallet, very soon if not already you will be able to go into any commercial bank and complete an online transfer to put monies into your Sand Dollar wallet,” Rolle said while appearing as a guest on the radio talk show Darold Miller Live yesterday

“If you are a business and you start to receive Sand Dollars, it’s interesting because it doesn’t matter how good we think this is, the first thing that the businesses asks is: ‘How am I going to get my money?’ So we fixed that. A business today can already, if they have the right set up, with the infrastructure that we have set up they can wire their Sand Dollar receipts to their bank account.

“So, if there is a concern of how you get access for other transactions and payments, we’re fixing that. We’re working on it, we’ve fixed parts of it and I am being told that by the end of August going into September, you and I will be able to go into our online banking accounts and send ourselves money to put into our Sand Dollar accounts. That’s the convenience factor, because if you have a bank account I don’t want you to have to drive across town to a machine to put money in.”

There are more than $300,000 worth of Sand Dollars in circulation currently, with roughly 30,000 digital wallets using them and about 845 merchants accepting them.

The Central Bank is encouraging the adoption of digital currency as means to modernize commerce and banking in The Bahamas.

Rolle said CBOB will return this weekend to Exuma, where the Sand Dollar was launched, to re-engage that community on the use of digital currency.

“The Central Bank is beginning to ramp up its effort to introduce the Sand Dollar to the community. We’ve been on hold for a while and we are beginning that process and we are going to be returning to the Exuma community over the August Monday weekend to begin to strengthen our presence on that island, and begin to work our way through the Family Islands, which we see as being very important with this initiative,” he said.

“We went to Exuma during the pilot and we learned some things during the pilot but as soon as we got into Exuma, COVID hit and things sort of shut down in terms of movement through the island. Now we’re living with COVID to some extent, and so we need to get into the community and continue to push taking advantage of everything we learned during the brief interaction we had with those communities.”

The relaunch will coincide with the island’s regatta.

Rolle said the Central Bank wants to display the ease with which customers and merchants can operate using Sand Dollar.

“One of the things that we are going to be doing in Exuma, and this is a part of our Sand Dollar push nationally, we’re also going to be giving Bahamians small amounts of Sand Dollars to spend in the Exuma community and in The Bahamas generally. What we ask of you is to give the experience a try of spending and receiving money digitally,” he said.

“On Exuma we have enrolled all of the vendors who are going to be on the park selling their wares and their food stuff and so they all have Sand Dollar accounts. They are going to be set up to receive Sand Dollars for their goods and services, so you will get the experience. We’re giving small amounts, maybe $10 or $20 to a small number of persons, it’s going to be over 100 persons that we impact in that way.”

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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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