TOP DOLLAR: Bahamas’ digital currency Sand Dollar receives top ranking in PwC global index

TOP DOLLAR: Bahamas’ digital currency Sand Dollar receives top ranking in PwC global index
The Central Bank of The Bahamas. (PHOTO: THE CENTRAL BANK)

Cambodia and China digital currencies ranked second and third respectively 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has given the Sand Dollar the highest ranking — above even China’s digital yuan — in a report ranking Central Bank digital currencies.

PwC’s Global CBDC Index 2021 examined interbank and retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) projects. The Bahamas’ Sand Dollar and Cambodia’s Project Bakong ranked first and second respectively for having gone live. China’s digital yuan, which is still being trialed, was ranked third.

PwC noted that more than 60 central banks have been exploring CBDCs since 2014, with progress accelerating as some CBDC projects are now entering implementation phases.

It also noted that more than 88 percent of CBDC projects, at pilot or production phase, use blockchain as the underlying technology.

With regards to retail CBDC, for which The Bahamas received the highest ranking, PwC noted this form is currency “that can be directly held by citizens and corporates as a digital form of cash as a complement to paper money”.

“As the digital equivalent of banknotes and coins, it offers a new platform for holding and exchanging money,” PwC noted.

It added: “The launch of the pilot phase in December 2019 marked the start of the Sand Dollar project by the Central Bank of The Bahamas. The Sand Dollar, ie a digital version of [the] Bahamian dollar, was officially launched in October 2020, issued through authorized financial institutions (AFIs).

“All residents can access the digital wallet through the mobile application or a physical payment card. The records collected during daily operations, such as income and spending information, can support applications for microloans.

“With the launch of Sand Dollar, the Central Bank wants to establish its leading position in the financial services sector with a modern payment system.”