Bahamas Introduces World’s First CBDC ‘Sand Dollar’

Bahamas introduces world’s first CBDC ‘Sand Dollar’. The Central Bank of the Bahamas has announced that the country’s digital currency called the “Sand Dollar” is now available nationwide.

The central bank digital currency (CBDC) became accessible to all 393,000 citizens of the Bahamas from about 10:00 PM UTC, according to an Oct. 20 Facebook post from Project Sand Dollar. This makes the Bahamas the first country in the world to officially carry out a CBDC. Sand Dollar transfers are made via mobile phones, with mobile phones being used by about 90 percent of the Bahamian population as of 2017.

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

Its been a few years since the central bank of the Bahamas has been preparing for the launch of the CBDC. In 2019, it started a pilot program using 48,000 digital Sand Dollars on the islands of Exuma and Abaco. Both islands have a combined population of lesser than 25,000 people. Each Sand Dollar is pegged to the Bahamian dollar, which is in turn pegged to the U.S. dollar.

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

[image: Marc Fanelli-Isla]

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