Financial services minister hosts virtual symposium on financial technology and digital tokens

Financial services minister hosts virtual symposium on financial technology and digital tokens
Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson on Thursday welcomed industry partners to a virtual symposium aimed at sharing the government’s vision of establishing The Bahamas as a leader in financial technology and digital assets.

“This symposium is reflective of our shared vision for ushering in a new wave of fintech innovations in The Bahamas, establishing this nation as a regional and world leader in the sector,” Johnson said as he addressed participants in a Zoom meeting.

“My ministry is fully committed to facilitating this work and collaborating with our partner agencies, industry stakeholders and leaders to ensure that we are going about this work in the most thoughtful way possible. We will continue to deliver on our mandate of advancement through innovation,” he said.

The first such symposium was held May 20, 2020, which created a blueprint for effective virtual stakeholder engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 350 participants.

This year’s symposium, held under the theme “FinTech and Digital Tokens: Legislation, Regulation and Practice in The Bahamas”, attracted approximately 500 participants who logged on via Zoom and heard from featured experts from the Securities Commission of the Bahamas and the Central Bank of The Bahamas.

Experts discussed the DARE Act, which regulates the fintech space.

Additionally, leading local and regional experts shared their practical experiences in the space along with local and international fintech professionals who spoke to the employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Johnson said: “As the world undergoes a period of accelerated digital transformation, The Bahamas will not be left behind. We are a small nation that has consistently punched above its weight in many respects when it comes to financial services, and there is no reason for fintech to be any different.”

He added: “The government’s recent passage of the Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Act, or DARE Act, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas’ FITLink Fintech Hub and the launch of the world’s first-ever Central Bank digital currency are proof positive of this administration’s forward-thinking agenda on fintech, digital assets and related innovations.”

The minister further explained that the objective is to stabilize the country’s strengths within the sector while continuing to expand market share through new initiatives, attracting investors from around the world and creating a fertile environment for domestic participation in this emerging industry.

“This is what the Ministry of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration has set its focus on for the immediate and long-term future,” Johnson said.

“One of the ways we will achieve this is by engaging our most important stakeholders and providing critical information so that industry stakeholders, policymakers and regulators are all on the same page. That is why events like this one are so crucial to achieving our objectives.”