Sand Dollar: Bahamas introduce first CBDC worldwide

This makes the Bahamas one of the first countries worldwide to officially launch a CBDC.

The Central Bank of the Bahamas has announced that the state virtual currency „Sand Dollar“ is now available nationwide.

According to a Facebook post by Project Sand Dollar on 20 October, the Central Bank of the Bahamas‘ (CBDC) digital currency was made available to all 393,000 residents of the Bahamas from about 22:00 UTC. This makes the Bahamas the first country in the world to officially introduce a CBDC.

A pilot programme for the digital yuan is currently underway in China. This was accompanied by a promotional gift of US$ 1.5 million. Cambodia’s digital currency „Bakong“ is expected to be officially launched in the coming months after the pilot test, which has been running since July 2019.

Sand dollar transfers can be made via mobile phone. In 2017, about 90 percent of the population in the Bahamas will have a mobile phone.

According to the Sand Dollar website, residents in the Bahamas can use the digital currency at any merchant „with a central bank approved e-wallet on their mobile device“. The transaction fees are „negligible“. The Central Bank chose the transaction provider NZIA for its solution to introduce the digital currency.

The Central Bank of the Bahamas has been preparing for its CBDC for several years. In 2019, it launched a pilot programme with 48,000 digital sand dollars on the islands of Exuma and Abaco. Together, the population of the islands is less than 25,000 people. Each Sand Dollar is linked to the Bahama Dollar, which in turn is linked to the US Dollar.

The Sand Dollar should lead to greater financial integration in the archipelago state with more than 700 islands, of which about 30 are inhabited. Cointelegraph reported in September that Chaozhen Chen, Deputy Head of eSolutions at the Central Bank of the Bahamas, said the CBDC would help provide „access to the digital payment infrastructure or banking infrastructure“ for residents with and without bank accounts.