Aliv’s top executive has pledged that the mobile operator and its controlling shareholder, Cable Bahamas, will accept payment in digital Bahamian dollars from the day these are launched.
Damian Blackburn, speaking at the Central Bank of The Bahamas’ blockchain seminar, said both companies are well-equipped with data networks that can handle digital currencies.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas announced in early March that it had selected NZIA Ltd as the preferred technology solutions provider to design and implement a digital Bahamian dollar through the “Project Sand Dollar” initiative.
Mr Blackburn, who was a panellist in discussions on the future of blockchain/financial technology in The Bahamas, said: “As soon as the Sand Dollar Project goes live persons will be able to buy Aliv top-up and Aliv plans with it.
“I’ve also been given the okay by Cable group chief executive, Franklyn Butler, to announce that you will also be able to pay your Cable Bahamas bill [in the same fashion]. The speed of everybody adopting it is crucial. I encourage all corporate entities and the government likewise, as I’ve just announced on behalf of the Cable Bahamas group to consider receiving money in Sand [digital] dollars from day one.”
Mr Blackburn added that trust in the digital Bahamian dollar, ease of registration, compelling reasons to use it, and an effective “cash in and cash out process” - together with total collaboration from existing and new industry stakeholders - was critical to the success of its launch.
“You can bet your bottom Sand Dollar that the day after somebody has received their pension money from the government into their Sand Dollar wallet that they will want to cash it out,” he said. “If they cannot cash it out in a convenient manner there will be backlash.
“In an area this complex we need the largest amount of collaboration The Bahamas has ever seen. Aliv and Cable Bahamas will have to work closely with the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), and banks will need to collaborate with solutions providers, remittance providers and emerging companies to make it all work.”
The Central Bank expects that, at the conclusion of the Sand Dollar project, all residents in The Bahamas will have equal, expanded access to modernised digital payments capabilities.