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Bahamas to introduce digital currency

Friday, June 22, 2018

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NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) — The Central Bank of the Bahamas has announced plans to introduce a pilot digital currency for the country.

This is according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, K Peter Turnquest who made the revelation earlier this week during The Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference.

“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,” said the deputy prime minister who added that he hopes the island of Grand Bahama will become the digital paradise of the region.

“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.”

According to Turnquest, in the near future, he hopes the government will be introducing a pilot programme using block chain certifications for people who complete studies at the National Training Agency.

“Even though it is at a very preliminary form, the government is looking to see other ways in which certificates such as business licences, 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.”

When coming to government just over one year ago, the deputy prime minister said he wanted the country to have used a blockchain type of technology so as to be more efficient and root out corruption in the government system.

“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.”

This system will not only be more efficient, but reduce the cost of doing business in The Bahamas.

Minnis, in delivering the keynote address at the opening of the conference, said that in spite of the challenges that come with establishing and growing a technology sector, The Bahamas is uniquely positioned to quickly become the jurisdiction of choice for technology companies, particularly blockchain technology companies, and FinTech solution providers.

The conference that ends on Friday attracted a wide range of local and international participants learning latest information about block chain and cryptocurrency from professionals proficient in the field.

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