Bahamas must get into the digital currency race: Former Caribbean AG

The Bahamas needs to step up its digital currency efforts or risk losing out to its neighbors who are moving quite fast. This is the advice of John McKendrick, the former attorney general of Anguilla, a group of islands in the Caribbean. The Bahamas has already kickstarted digital currency efforts with its Sand Dollar project, but it needs to accelerate its efforts or fall behind its peers.

Digital currencies could provide the solutions to the financial challenges ailing The Bahamas, McKendrick told Bahamian news outlet The Tribune. With the Sand Dollar, the island has taken a critical first step in its digital currency journey, but it needs to do more. Already, its peers Gibraltar and Bermuda are doing “an extraordinary job” with their digital currency initiatives, he pointed out.

The Caribbean has showed support for digital currencies, with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank leading the way. The former AG revealed that the bank issued “a digital Eastern Caribbean dollar that has been quite successful.” In his capacity as an AG, he was also instrumental in putting in place the first piece of legislation for the digital currency industry. Known as the Anguilla Utility Token Act, it was the first attempt in the Caribbean to regulate digital currencies.

The Bahamas mustn’t let its fear of new technology keep it from implementing proper regulations for crypto, McKendrick believes. He stated:

“I think from a regulatory perspective, as a lawyer, regulating Fin-tech (financial technology) is a challenge and there are risks, but regulating regular financials services is also challenging and we mustn’t be put off by not understanding the technology behind Fin-tech. We must embrace it.”

The Sand Dollar will allow the government to familiarize itself with digital currencies, and this will allow it to regulate other global cryptos, he continued. He stated, “…what would be interesting is if the regulators – once they have some experience in regulating that currency- can think about whether they can regulate larger currencies beyond The Bahamas.”

As CoinGeek revealed last year, the Central Bank of The Bahamas will partner with transaction provider NZIA.io and Singapore’s Zynesis on the CBDC project. The regulator hopes the digital currency can allow greater financial access and reduce the need for the use of cash in payments.

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