The government is moving toward making expenditure payments with the Sand Dollar by September, following the successful integration of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) on the Bahamas Digital Payment Platform (DigiPay), revealed the Ministry of Finance yesterday.
The first transaction for a government service using Sand Dollar took place last week as payment for a character certificate, also known as a police record, at the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Oakes Field office.
“This is an exciting moment for our team. I applaud the efforts of Kristie Powell, representing the technical arm of DigiPay and all stakeholders involved for such a smooth and productive testing period,” Director of the Revenue Audit and Cash Management Unit at the Ministry of Finance Nicole Reilly said.
“Phase one of the Sand Dollar ecosystem build, which encompasses revenue collection for government agencies, is now complete on the technical side. We are eager to move onto phase two which involves government expenditure payouts in Sand Dollars throughout the cash districts of our southern Bahamian islands. The tentative date for this phase to go live is set for September 1, 2021.”
The Central Bank of The Bahamas released the Sand Dollar – the world’s first CBDC – for national adoption last October. It is now interoperable with nine payment service providers (PSPs) and is available at a commercial bank and credit union.
Minister of State for Finance Senator Kwasi Thompson said the government and the Central Bank will soon begin integrating other agencies throughout the government into the Sand Dollar ecosystem.
“The government’s push towards a more digitized Bahamas is continuing to take shape with this exciting development. With DigiPay, we are modernizing the way Bahamians pay for government services, improving the efficiency, access and security of payments by means of digital innovation. We are able to further this goal with the successful implementation of Sand Dollar’s ecosystem, which aims to achieve similar outcomes for our country’s payment landscape. With that, the Sand Dollar will soon serve as a standard means of payment collection through the DigiPay platform for government services,” he said.
“This step is also a historic achievement which signals the government’s commitment to building and expanding the Sand Dollar ecosystem across The Bahamas. This step encourages the public to participate in the Sand Dollar ecosystem by affording them the opportunity to pay for government services with the convenience that digital currency brings. This step also establishes The Bahamas as a world leader in central bank digital currencies.”
The Ministry of Finance has revealed that more government agencies will be equipped with the necessary hardware to accept Sand Dollars through the rest of this month.