Central Bank Targets Pilot Digital Currency

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.


observer2 2 years, 9 months ago

More promises which will go unfulfilled.

You can’t create a secure electronic banking system for the Bahamian Dollar because it is not cost effective.

If the government creates a B$ only electronic banking system it will be subject to hacking the likes of what you see on many other B$ financial sites.

With exchange controls many Bahamians are blocked from settling local bills using PayPal and cell phone banking apps as B$ are not recognized globally.

This is why our banking system is so terribly backwards. What ever happened to the ACH project to electronically transfer funds between banks without having to physically visit a bank?

The promises and use of the words blockchain and electronic currencies by the politicians in a country where international agencies gives us very poor grades on E Government development is of zero value and utter nonsense.

But that never stopped government from making promises. Apparently the reason for the increase in VAT is to pay PLP bills from over 2 years ago. If you can believe that, the blockchain will solve all our banking woes.


observer2 2 years, 9 months ago

It would be useful if the Tribune reporters do some simple challenging and investigative reporting on what government is saying and not simply reporting it verbatim.

The average reader of this report may come to the incorrect conclusion that blockchain, electronic banking, the government and the central bank will solve our major banking problems in the near term.

Nothing is further from reality.

To develop a closed electronic backing system for Bahamian dollars only with the safety and security of SWIFT, Zella, PayPal, ApplePay, WhatsApp (now starting up in India) is far beyond the intellectual capacity of our visionless leaders not to metion the hundreds of millions in development cost.

The question the Tribune should be asking is why the DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) which is in the middle of a civil war, a per person GDP 1/100 the size of the Bahamas and had no infrastructure has a fully functioning electronic payment system!

I recommend the government stops construction of the new Central Bank building which will have tens of millions in cost overruns and use the money to hire some people with some vision to speak, execute and integrate our financial system into already existing, proven and safe global payment systems.

It will speed up commerce, disintermediate the Canadian banking and exchange control cartel and liberate our economy. This will allow our GDP to grow by more than 2% per annum. Currently of financial system is a hinderace to growth only profitable to the entrenched banks and government beaucrates with jobs for life. While the rest of us suffer with high levels of burgularies due to our cash based system.


banker 2 years, 9 months ago

We can't even do digital banking in the Family Islands with traditional cash. Problems cited are older people who do not have devices and are computer illiterate. What's going to happen when they have to contend with digital money and secure wallets and cryptography security to protect their digital money. They will be lost.


ThisIsOurs 2 years, 9 months ago

It's been my position for a while that someone is whispering in the ear of the PM and leading him down a road that serves a personal interests. Neither the PM nor Kwasi Tompson or Peter Turnquest know enough about technology to decipher sense from nonsense.

Its also my contention that many of the applications listed locally for block chain are overkill. There are existing, faster, cheaper tried and tested secure ways to accomplish the same thing. But it's in someone's interest to promote a block chain project that could take years and cost millions to develop and implement. Nice work if you can get it.

I also don't know the wisdom about talking about transferring your most critical infrastructure to untested technology. They're talking about moving passports and drivers licenses and all aspects of your identity to this untested system, it doesn't make sense to me...but maybe it's just me


DDK 2 years, 9 months ago

Coconuts and conch shells would probably work better than crypto and ethereum......


DDK 2 years, 9 months ago

My bad! Should have said Coconuts and conch shells would probably work better than BITCOIN and ethereum......


ohdrap4 2 years, 9 months ago

The question the Tribune should be asking is why the DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) which is in the middle of a civil war, a per person GDP 1/100 the size of the Bahamas and had no infrastructure has a fully functioning electronic payment system!

Like, the mighty sparrow, I envy the Congo man!!!


BahamaLlama 2 years, 9 months ago

No, it won't. The blockchain is a decentralized system, and the Central Bank is, ahem, a centralized one. They are diametrically opposite conceptually, and practically. Blockchain tech is designed to completely replace and remove centralized fractional reserve banking as a person-to-person transactional network. A central bank cannot produce a decentralized digital currency - the nearest it can get is a shared private ledger, which is essentially a clearing system (RTGCS) which should have been in place 20 years ago.

If the Minister of Finance thinks that, or the Governor of the Central Bank, they don't understand the basics of the banking system, or finance, or accounting, or anything the job entails.

Blockchain certifications? A single point of entry to reduce corruption? What idiocy is this?


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