Norton Rose Fulbright advised NZIA Limited on the creation of a central bank digital currency

Press release - Business May 2019

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright advised NZIA Limited, a Bahamas-based company specializing in blockchain and distributed ledger technology solutions, on the design and implementation of a digital fiat currency system for the Central Bank of The Bahamas. 

The payments system modernization initiative known as “Project Sand Dollar” will provide Bahamas residents with broad and constant access to modernized near-instantaneous digital payment capabilities through the use of distributed ledger technology. The unique architecture of NZIA’s system will enable secure transactions for anyone, anywhere, even if there is poor network connectivity or if communications are lost.

The project is among the first in the world to proceed to the implementation stage. With more than 60 central banks around the world currently considering central bank digital currency (CBDC), a legal tender replacing or supplementing physical cash, the Bahamas is set to establish itself as one of the few nations with post-modern financial systems. 

John Kim, the Vancouver-based global business partner who led the team, commented: 

“The innovative nature of “Project Sand Dollar” required us to provide equally innovative solutions to our client. From leading the documentation at the RFP and contract stages, we also helped shape and test the core architecture of NZIA’s truly innovative solution. Our input resulted in a system that would not only meet the requirements of current financial and regulatory regimes, but actually leverage them to provide a CBDC solution that minimizes disruption and fosters adoption.”

The Norton Rose Fulbright team, which included associates Hayley Ha and Patrick Chou in Vancouver, assisted on NZIA’s successful RFP response, consulted on the design of NZIA’s unique CBDC solution, as well as drafted and negotiated teaming agreements, including the final agreement between NZIA Limited and the Central Bank of The Bahamas.

Locally, “Project Sand Dollar” aims to combat shadow banking services, barriers to financial services, and other previously unsolved concerns.