The central bank of the Bahamas has announced that it will issue a “pilot digital currency” to be used throughout the country. Kevin Peter Turnquest, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, made the announcement while speaking at The Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference held in Freeport, Grand Bahama on June 20.

Turnquest stated 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.

K. Peter Turnquest

The minister added that convenient transportation was not available for many people on the island nation, particularly for senior citizens. Moreover, transportation services in the Bahamas are expensive, so it is imperative that the island provides “financial services digitally and securely”, Turnquest said.

By digitizing governmental and financial services, it will become easier to conduct business in line with the island’s “digital Bahamas framework”, according to the minister. The government of the Bahamas will reportedly be looking to transition to a “new online interface” to better serve new companies looking to register their business.

Piloting Blockchain-Based Certifications

In addition to introducing a pilot digital currency for The Bahamas, Turnquest says he’d like the nation’s government to launch a pilot blockchain-based certification program for students enrolled at the National Training Agency.

The minister further stated that the country’s government is interested in using blockchain technology for business licenses, insurance services, and passports. Blockchain would reportedly be used to provide a higher level of security and allow individuals to share their information in a “verifiable way.”

When Turnquest was first appointed as the nation’s minister a year ago, he said that he wanted The Bahamas to leverage blockchain technology to make the island’s business and government procedures and processes more efficient. He noted that blockchain-based systems could help cut down on corruption by “using technology and single points of contact.”

Per the minister, the use of blockchain in government services would “eliminate a lot of the human element that facilitates corruption.” Moreover, he said that it would “eliminate that point where, we Bahamians call it, you have to tip somebody in order to get service” and would also be more cost-effective to use.