After years of development and many nations pushing towards the launch of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), we finally have a winner and it is not China. However surprising it might be, last week there were reports that the Bahamas central bank is ready to deploy its CBDC dubbed Sand dollars in October. Now, the central bank has finally confirmed the launch date for next month.
According to a tweet on Friday from the Central Bank of the Bahamas, Sand dollars are set to go live on October 20 with a “gradual national release”, making it the first retail CBDC in the world.
Even though we already had confirmation regarding a mid-October release earlier this month, the recent announcement has given us a solid date for what is going to be a historical event for the crypto industry as a whole.
The launch will be happening in phases, with the private-sector players such as banks and credit unions readying their systems with know-your-customer (KYC) and other compliance checks across low-value, personal and enterprise wallets in the first phase.
The second phase will be set for early – mid 2021, and will focus on building the essential infrastructure services in the government and private sectors, such as utility companies and service provides for the CBDC.
A number of institutions who are set to integrate sand dollars in their systems have already started developing and testing their mobile wallets, which will be secured by “multi-factor authentication”, for their users and have already been on-boarded for the rollout by the central bank.
The central bank stressed on the fact that users shouldn’t expect complete anonymity like that of cash when using this CBDC. However, the bank adds that the wallets would be encrypted “to ensure confidentiality.”
The announcement added that the CBDC has been tested and has been subjected to “rigorous cybersecurity assessment” to ensure its safety and overcome public fears of paying with a digitally native currency.
The nation is still working on a regulatory framework for the sand dollar CBDC and those “will be crystalized in the public space over the month of October.”
The central bank concluded:
“The intended outcome of Project Sand Dollar is that all residents in The Bahamas would have use of a central bank digital currency, on a modernized technology platform, with an experience and convenience – legally and otherwise – that resembles cash. It is expected that this will allow for reduced service delivery costs, increased transactional efficiency, and an improved overall level of financial inclusion.”