The Bahamas is set to become the world’s first country to launch a sovereign digital currency next month. 

According to a report by Bloomberg on Tuesday, the Bahamas is planning to launch its digital currency, dubbed the “sand Dollar,” in October ahead of other major world powers such as China. The country initially implemented a pilot program for the digital coin last December on the islands of Exuma and Abaco. 

The central bank digital currency (CBDC) is expected to be one-to-one with the Bahamian dollar. Officials say the new currency will make digital payments easier, particularly for remote islands that support the nation’s tourism-dependent economy. 

The Bloomberg report claims the country’s monetary authority has just $48,000 worth of Sand Dollars on its balance sheet. However, next month’s launch will mark a historic triumph for the Bahamas in the race for state-backed digital currencies, beating the likes of China and other Caribbean nations to release the first sovereign digital currency.

Chaozhen Chen, assistant manager of eSolutions at the Central Bank of the Bahamas, highlighted increased monetary access for remote residents as a benefit of the program.

He said, 

A lot of residents in those more remote islands don’t have access to digital payment infrastructure or banking infrastructure. We really had to customize the effort and the solution to what we need as a sovereign nation.

Richard Douglas, head of technology at payment service provider (PSP) Island Pay, said the country would set an example for others to follow. 

He said, 

The Bahamas is laying the groundwork for how it could be done throughout the Caribbean.

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