At a time when the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and some other pessimistic world governments have condemned blockchain technology and digital currencies citing volatility and scalability issues, this island nation has resorted to distributed ledger technology and digital currency in a bid to solve its problems.
Central Bank-Backed Cryptocurrency
The Bahamas, a small island nation of less than 400 million people with only 30 inhabited islands out of 700 islands, is looking to conquer its challenges by developing a central bank-backed cryptocurrency.
Speaking at the Bahamas Blockchain and Cryptocurrency conference, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister who doubles as the Minister of Finance, K. Peter Turnquest announced the move.
The Minister noted it has become increasingly essential to create a national blockchain-powered virtual currency for the nation to cater to the financial needs of the many unbanked Bahamian families.
“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,” Turnquest said.
As with most island nations, Bahamas is plagued with the challenge of transportation. The minister firmly believes with the successful transformation of the Bahamian economy into a digitalized system, life would be much easier for everyone, especially for the aged people who find it a herculean task moving from one point to the other.
“As an island nation, where transportation can be an inconvenience for many, especially the elderly, and costly, we must offer financial services digitally and securely.” the minister added.
Digitization Will Attract Businesses
In addition to easing the banking burdens of the masses, the Turnquest is also looking to make it easier for businesses to open shop in the region seamlessly.
Since the proposed cryptocurrency will be backed by the central bank, it will afford users the convenience and security that comes with digital currencies, without exhibiting the volatile qualities of public coins like bitcoin and the altcoins.
Blockchain technology has proven itself worthy to revolutionize various industries in the global economy. Turnquest is not oblivious of this fact. He pointed out that the government is looking to integrate the burgeoning technology into its operations, to handle certificate verification and eliminate corruption in the long run.
“Using technology and single points of contact we’re able to eliminate most 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 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 to get service.”
In recent times many nations have revealed plans to launch their national cryptocurrencies. However, only Venezuela has made it through despite criticisms.
Blockchain technology and virtual currencies will undoubtedly transform the Bahamas into a hotbed for crypto-related businesses and other startups.
However, it remains to be seen whether the nation has all it takes to actualize its DLT dreams.