“The Central Bank began the gradual national release of the Bahamian digital currency in October 2020. Since then, participating financial institutions have worked to integrate their proprietary mobile applications (apps) to the Sand Dollar infrastructure. As of mid-March, nine PSPs––the Authorised Financial Institutions (AFIs)––have completed cybersecurity assessments of their technology systems and have been cleared to distribute the CBDC. That is, four money transmission businesses (MTBs), three payment services institutions, one commercial bank, and one credit union. These institutions are either enabled to offer Sand Dollars through their proprietary mobile wallets or through the Central Bank developed app.”
The Central Bank in the Bahamas successfully the Sand Dollar following pilot programs. It was the first CBDC launch in the world. Part of the motivation was addressing access to financial services following Hurricane Dorian.
The Bahamas Dollar (BSD) is pegged 1:1 with the USD; and the Sand Dollar has the same value as the BSD.
The Governor confirmed the structure is now centralised but the benefits of DLTs are understood.
Today, the sand dollars are sent to partners of the central bank and then used for payments via mobile devices and smart cards.
The Sand Dollar is known officially as the Electronic Bahamian Dollar in law.
At present the Sand Dollar is now processed on a 24/7 basis and not processed at POS points overseas. So there are improvements forecast in the future.
The central bank considers that interoperability is a key point on future opertions with cross-border payments.