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PM pledges full support for ‘leapfrog’ on Fintech

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

The Prime Minister yesterday pledged the Government’s full backing for efforts to help The Bahamas “leapfrog” into the digital assets space.

Philip Davis QC, speaking at the Future of Caribbean Money Conference, said his administration is committed to putting in place the necessary laws to make the jurisdiction more attractive for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

He said: “We still have a long way to go to develop a digital ecosystem that will provide the kinds of products and services our people long for. But we can make a start, and the arrival of digitally-based money here in the Caribbean, I believe, has the potential to help us leapfrog into that future.”

The Bahamas has already launched the world’s first Central Bank-backed digital currency, the Sand Dollar, which is now in the process of being integrated with the clearing banks so that it can become interchangeable with fiat currency in customer bank accounts.

And this nation has also passed the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges (DARE) Act, which allows for digital assets and exchanges to be regulated in The Bahamas. This helped attract to one of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges, FTX Trading, to establish a subsidiary in this country.

Building on this framework, Mr Davis said he is looking for more “inclusion” by bringing more “unbanked” and “unbankable” Bahamians into the formal financial system via the use of digital currency. He added: “The future where digital money lessens reliance on, or fills the gaps, left by foreign banking partners, or fills both immediate and future needs, this has to be a good thing.

“We will invest in education to produce the necessary intellectual capital to produce high-quality digital products and services. We intend to expand the development and use of artificial intelligence. We will incentivise the Bahamian or iGaming industry to compete globally.

“We will ensure access to devices and data within centralised community centres. We will provide a world-class optimal environment for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. We will establish a high-technology zone, where Bahamian technology experts partner with foreign entities to produce global technical solutions,” the Prime Minister continued.

“Along with the arrival of the Internet, it is not an overstatement to say that the Caribbean region based on the digital economy, in turn facilitated by digital money, might just be the most disruptive thing that many of us have experienced in our lifetimes.”

Comments

Maximilianotto 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The Sand Dollar isn’t a digital currency it’s quite useless has no advantage over existing payment providers…built on sand, barely being used. Crypto is good for the country as will attract highly educated programmers and mathematicians from the US and India so creating services jobs for our grade D population. How many local jobs have been created by FTX? Suspicious deafening silence. And Bitfinex and Counbase arrived or already packing their bags? Just asking.

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