Bahamas set to issue own cryptocurrency

The Central Bank of the Bahamas is planning to create a government-backed pilot cryptocurrency. The announcement was made by Kevin Peter Turnquest, deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of the island.

Speaking at the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference, Turnquest said that the production of a modern, fully digital payment service could offer a solution as commercial banks in the archipelagic state are downsizing and leaving communities without vital banking services. The Bahamas consists of over 700 islands, islets and cays.

“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. Digitization of our government and financial services complements both our ease of doing business initiatives and our digital Bahamas framework,” he said.

The deputy prime minister added that he expects the government to introduce blockchain technology in various fields.

“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,” Turnquest said at the conference.

The Bahamas is joining a small list of countries that are planning to experiment with central bank digital currencies.

Norway’s Central Bank is currently studying if launching its own cryptocurrency would be positive for the country. Falling cash use was cited as the motivation for Sweden’s central bank, Riksbank, to might issue an e-krona. Research has also been conducted by the Bank of Canada with a view to determining the risks and benefits that would come from issuing its own digital currency.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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