The Bahamas Launches Its CBDC Dubbed “Sand Dollar”

The Bahamas has launched a state-backed digital currency called “Sand Dollar, thus making the country the first in the world to officially roll out a CBDC.

October 21, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – The Central Bank of the Bahamas Wednesday announced the launched its own blockchain-based central bank digital currency (CBDC), making it one of the latest national financial institution in the world to do so.

Central bank of Bahamas launches ‘Sand Dollar’

Dubbed the “Sand Dollar” the tokens are pegged to the Bahamian dollar (which is pegged to the US dollar) and are now available nationwide. According to an Oct. 20 Facebook post from Project Sand Dollar, the CBDC became available to all 393,000 Bahamas residents at about 10:00 PM UTC.

Read also: Messaging Giant LINE Launches CBDC Development Platform

Central banks around the world have shown interest in CBDCs, and many of them are working actively on the same. For example, China has released a mobile test app that supports the People’s Bank of China (PBOC)’s digital yuan project. The Bank of Japan (BoJ) has also drafted a plan for a CBDC and it will start testing ‘as early as possible’ in April 2021.

How to use the Bahamian Sand Dollar?

Roughly 90% of the Bahamian population using smartphones as of 2017 can make Sand Dollar transfers with their mobile phone. A representative from the nation’s central bank said:

“They can sign up today. And as soon as they have the Sand Dollar wallet in-hand, they can start transacting—both for the general public and merchants.”

According to the Sand Dollar website, Bahamians can use the coin at any merchant “with a Central Bank approved e-Wallet on their mobile device” and transaction fees are “negligible.” The central bank has chosen NZIA, a transaction provider as its technology solutions provider for the rollout of the digital currency.

The Sand Dollar is intended to drive greater financial inclusion within the archipelago nation of more than 700 islands. About 30 of these islands are inhabited.

Bahamas’ central bank has been preparing to launch the CBDC for a few years now. Last year, the bank started a pilot program using 48,000 digital Sand Dollars on the islands of Exuma and Abaco. Both islands have a combined population of fewer than 25,000 people.

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