Bahamas To Launch Government-backed Cryptocurrency

Blockchain, News | June 25, 2018 By:

The Central Bank of the Bahamas is planning to create a government-backed pilot cryptocurrency, the country’s deputy prime minister said.

Speaking at the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference last week, K Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Bahamas, said that 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,” Turnquest said. “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.”

The deputy prime minister added that he expects the government to introduce blockchain technology in various fields such as education, passports, and national insurance.

“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,” Turnquist said.

Turnquist’s plan to bring blockchain technology to the island in order to put an end to corruption in the government was key to his appointment to office one year ago.

“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,” Turnquist said.

The news came after Bahamian financial regulators announced that they were exploring the creation of appropriate regulatory regimes for the emerging blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors.

“The industry of cryptocurrency and crypto-assets is an ever-changing environment,” said Christina Rolle, the Securities Commission’s executive director. “What was true of the industry five years ago, and even one year ago, has shifted and changed, and therefore it is important that we create the kind of environment that is also adaptable.”