Thursday, January 2, 2020

Sand Dollar Q&A

Q: Is the new Sand Dollar Digital Currency a Cryptocurrency?

A: [Central Bank Governor John Rolle]: "The sand dollar is NOT a cryptocurrency. It is a Central Bank digital currency - the digital counterpart to Bahamian dollar notes and coins."

Q: Does it have the same value as paper currency? Can its value ever be different?

A: [Governor Rolle]: "It has the same value as our printed currency. It can never have a different valuation. It is backed by the foreign reserves of the Central Bank in the identical way as other demand liabilities of the bank."

Q: Does it have to be linked to a bank? Is it then like a debit card?

A: No it does not and it is different from a credit card. Governor Rolle states'. "A debit card is linked to your money in the bank, and your debit card is just bearing what you are holding, or what is owed to you by your commercial bank. This is really going to be the equivalent of the paper notes and coins that you hold... So when you are holding the [Sand Dollar digital] currency, you are going to be holding a direct liability of the Central Bank. So it won't be a liability of a financial institution."

Q: Can all Bahamians now sign up?

A: Not as yet. THe Pilot phase is happening in Exuma initially and then will shift to include Abaco in the coming months. It will then be expanded to other islands throughout the second half of this year, provided that the pilots perform satisfactorily.

Q: Who can distribute Sand Dollars?

A: The Central Bank presently distributes the Sand Dollar at this stage. It has a fairly basic digital wallet app that is available for Android and for iPhone.

Very soon, other financial and money services companies will be able to distribute the Sand Dollar through their own wallet apps which will have varying features and functionalities that they will individually manage.

Q: Will I need a bank account to be able to get and use Sand Dollars via a digital wallet app?

A: No you will not need a bank account, but you will need to have and present valid identification for your initial sign up. It is expected though that persons who so desire will be able to link their sand dollar accounts to their bank accounts.

Q: Will there be a limit on the money I can keep in my Sand Dollar wallet app?

A: Yes, individuals and businesses will have varying limits on the quantum of sand dollars that they can keep in their wallets. The individual limitations will be based on a number of qualifying criteria.

Q: Are their any restrictions on what I can use my sand dollars for?

A: You will be able to spend your Sand dollars with any merchant that accepts it, and for any purpose for which you would today use other forms of payment. You can also send your sand dollars to any other holder of a sand dollar account?

Q: Would I be able to send money to people or businesses in other islands inside The Bahamas?

Yes, provided they have a sand dollar account and wallet, you can send money to any person or business anywhere in The Bahamas.

Q: Would I be able to send money internationally?

A: As sand dollars are Bahamian currency, the same foreign exchange rules and laws would apply as if it were physical cash or other form of money. Thus, the short answer is no, not directly - at least not at this stage.

Q: Will transactions be secure?

A: Yes, absolutely. To pay for something or to send money to someone, there will be a two factor authentication. Without your secret password and secondary authentication, no funds can be moved from your Sand Dollar wallet. Seperate from this, the Central Bank will have established triggers to seek out and spot potential fraudulent activities.

As with your current debit or credit cards, it will be essential that you guard your password and never share it with anyone.

For more information or to follow the progress of the Sand Dollar initiative, LIKE their page and follow them directly at