Central Bank to host Blockchain seminar

Central Bank to host Blockchain seminar
The Central Bank of The Bahamas logo.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Blockchain and how it can benefit The Bahamas will be front and centre next week as the Central Bank further preps the market for the introduction of Project Sand Dollar.

With a focus on the pending Payments Systems Modernization Initiative, the Bank, on Monday, March 18,  will host its second seminar on the subject called, ‘Blockchain and The Bahamas: Raising The Bar.’

Further information on the digital currency project will be provided as targeted broader reforms for the payments system are highlighted.

“It will spotlight the Bank’s efforts to promote greater financial inclusion, while simultaneously reducing the economy’s reliance on cash transactions,” said The Bank.

“Blockchain applications of financial technology or Fintech solutions are one of many innovations that could impact the delivery of Bahamian financial services. The seminar will provide an update on international regulatory developments in this space and evolving standards that could also affect The Bahamas.

“This transformation is expected to provide a public sector infrastructure that also supports the mobile, digital financial services space.”

The seminar will come amidst calls for much-needed regulations guiding the growth of financial technology in The Bahamas.

Stefen Deleveaux, president of the Caribbean Blockchain Alliance (CBA), said it was important for greater focus on regulatory framework to direct the industry’s growth and help advance it to the heights seen by regional counterparts. He advised that regional partners were all moving forward with government engagement on how best to regulate the nascent industry.

Bahamas Financial Services Board Executive Director Tanya McCartney said the Securities Commission of The Bahamas had noted the growing interest in the jurisdiction as it relates to initial coin offerings, crypto exchanges, and other digital token arrangements and discussions for the development of a regulatory framework were underway.

“It is also taking cognizance of the emergence of Risk-Based Supervision as an approach to regulatory supervision of financial institutions globally,” said McCartney.

“The Commission has designed a risk-based supervisory framework, which includes continuous Anti-Money Laundering/ Combating the Finance of Terrorism (AML/ CFT) risk identification and monitoring, along with supporting templates.”

The Bank said a panel of firms from the public and private sector has been assembled to focus on ways in which Fintech innovations could apply in the delivery of local financial services, the importance of the telecommunications infrastructure in the modernisation of the space, cybersecurity matters and public education.

Senator Kwasi Thompson are among the lead speakers, sharing information on The Bahamas’ e-government initiative.

Invited panellists include BTC, Cable Bahamas, and the University of The Bahamas alongside financial services entities Cash N’ Go and Fidelity Bank.

Seminar attendees will include a cross-section of invited stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including key participants in the local payments system.