The Central Bank will soon introduce a pilot digital currency for The Bahamas, the deputy prime minister has confirmed.
KP Turnquest told the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference, which enters its final day today, that he hopes Grand Bahama becomes the digital paradise of the Caribbean.
He said: "The production of a modern, fully digital payment service is the way forward for this era of governance. A digital Bahamian currency is especially important for the many Family Islands, as they have seen many commercial banks downsize and pull out of their communities, leaving them without banking services.
"As an island nation, where transportation can be an inconvenience for many, especially the elderly, and costly, we must offer financial services digitally and securely. Digitisation of our government and financial services complements both our ease of doing business initiatives and our digital Bahamas framework. As a first step in our ease of doing business initiative, we would have moved to a new online interface for start-up companies registering their business for the first time in The Bahamas."
Mr Turnquest added that the government soon hopes to introduce a pilot programme involving blockchain certifications for people who complete studies at the National Training Agency. It is expected that these individuals will maintain and share their certification information.
"Even though it is at a very preliminary form, the government is looking to see other ways in which certificates such as business licenses, passports, national insurance can make use of blockchain technology to enable persons to maintain their data and share it in a secure and verifiable way," he said.
Having entered the government just over one year ago, the deputy prime minister said he wanted The Bahamas to use blockchain-type technology to improve efficiency and root out corruption.
"Using technology and single points of contact we're able to eliminate a lot of the human element that facilitates corruption, and so when we talk about applying for government services, if we have a single portal for entry and all of the processing being done behind the scenes, either through electronic data interchange or through human facilitation, we can eliminate that point where, we Bahamians call it, you have to tip somebody in order to get service," Mr Turnquest said.
This system will not only be more efficient, but reduce the cost of doing business in The Bahamas.