The Central Bank of The Bahamas is to introduce a pilot digital currency. The announcement from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest was made at the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference taking place this week.

Turnquest hopes that the Grand Bahama will become a digital hub for the entire region. He said: “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.

“Digitization of our government and financial services complements both our ease of doing business initiatives and our digital Bahamas framework.”

Hon. K. Peter Turnquest

At the time of his appointment to office one year ago, Turnquest laid out his manifesto to bring blockchain technology to the islands in an effort to bring efficiency and root out corruption in the government system.

“Using technology and single points of contact we are 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.”

Hon. K. Peter Turnquest

Most governments are considering their own digital currency. In May, The Bank of England published a staff working paper examining the risks associated with the creation of central bank digital currencies and The Federal Council of the Government of Switzerland has also recently requested a report on the risks and opportunities of its own state-backed digital currency, or so-called “e-franc”, Reuters reported May 17. The idea to develop a Swiss cryptocurrency was proposed in February by Romeo Lacher, chairman of the Swiss stock exchange SIX. He said, “an e-franc under the control of the central bank would create a lot of synergies, so it would be good for the economy.”