NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Abaconians will now have easier access to financial services with the launch of Project Sand Dollar on Abaco, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest.
The Central Bank introduced a digital version of the Bahamian dollar back in December, with a pilot phase in the Exumas.
The platform has now been extended to the Abacos.
Speaking at the launch, Turnquest said: “A few months ago, the Abaco islands sustained catastrophic damage to their infrastructure, various economic sectors and the very fabric of their lives.
“Hurricane Dorian was one we will never forget, but it is our hope that through the Sand Dollar, the Abaco islands can find some normalcy again, especially as it relates to their financial sector.”
He said: “The Government of the Bahamas is in full support of this monumental initiative and we are prepared and committed to ensuring the success of the Sand Dollar on every island of the Bahamas.”
Turnquest noted the Sand Dollar is equivalent in every aspect to the paper currency with its value fully backed by the external reserves of the Central Bank.
“For the people of Abaco who would have lost everything, this Sand Dollar now allows them to have easier access to financial services,” he continued.
“Through the Sand Dollar, Abaconians can now make payments at local grocers or gas stations right through their mobile devices in real time. Additionally, sand dollar allows for fee-less peer-to-peer transfers.
“Furthermore, the consumers can feel secure as the Sand Dollar offers multi-factor authentication where they can use facial recognition, biometrics or a password to access their Sand Dollar app on their mobile devices.”
Turnquest said: “It is also important to note that the Sand Dollar is not anonymous but it is confidential. The Central Bank is working diligently to ensure the safety and security of every consumer in the digital sphere.”
The Finance minister noted that after the pilot a number of key components will be unlocked with the Sand Dollar, which includes the offline functionality.
This feature becomes very useful during and after natural disasters, he said.
Users will be able to make payments or transfers in the absence of Wi-Fi or data capabilities.
Turnquest said: “The Sand Dollar will revolutionize the way business is conducted throughout our islands. Once again, the Government of the Bahamas is in full support of this initiative and we look forward to the continued roll-out in the rest of the Bahama Islands.”