REMARKS: The Rt. Hon. Philip Davis, QC, Prime Minister – October 4th, 2021

Good morning.

     In moving its headquarters from Hong Kong to The Bahamas, FTX has started what we hope will be the beginning of a trend. We hope that more companies within the cryptocurrency and block chain spheres begin to see The Bahamas as an ideal destination for their operations. I believe that the relocation of the world’s third largest cryptocurrency exchange to our shores sends a clear signal to the rest of the FinTech world that The Bahamas is open for business.

     The Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Act (known as the DARE Act) is a testament to the visionary leadership and expertise that exists within our country. The Bahamas is now recognized internationally as having one of the strongest digital asset legislative frameworks in the world. The arrival of FTX is proof positive that we are headed in the right direction. Companies like FTX want to be in well-regulated, stable environments like ours, where their continued growth and expansion is supported. Bahamian professionals will surely benefit from the jobs that will be created as a result of the DARE Act. 

     On this momentous occasion, we take the opportunity to recognize Ms. Christina Rolle, the Executive Director of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas. She and her team model a level of leadership, innovation, and commitment to the development of The Bahamas that is exemplary.

     Just as the world of blockchain is constantly evolving, we intend to go through a constant process of reviewing and updating our laws to ensure that we continue to attract world-class partners like FTX to do business here. 

     As a part of my government’s forward-looking agenda, we recognise that digital transformation is the key to unlocking the potential of our economy and expanding access for all people. Blockchain has a huge role to play in that transformation. The benefits of this technology has the potential to drive advancements in financial services, healthcare, the arts and culture, to create new opportunities for local professionals and improve the quality of life of many Bahamians.

     The presence of FTX in our country is a precursor to opportunities for employment in new and exciting areas, particularly for young people with a passion for technology and information science.  

     I thank and applaud FTX for their early commitment to being good corporate citizens. Bahamian communities are already benefiting from their back-to-school donations, involvement with local charities like ‘Hands for Hunger’, and other corporate social responsibility initiatives. 

     I agree with FTX’s CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, that “money is a tool to make the world a better place”. This chimes very strongly with my government’s core principle of putting ‘compassionate leadership’ at the centre of all that we do. 

     And so I go a little further and say that, what you do with that money is also important. At this stage in the national development of The Bahamas, education is another critical tool. 

     As more opportunities emerge within the local job market, I encourage companies like FTX to reach out to the Ministry of Education, the University of The Bahamas, and the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute, to develop courses to prepare children and re-tool adults for the digital environment, as The Bahamas begins its rise as the next global FinTech hub.

     We see the presence of cryptocurrency exchanges in our country as another opportunity to nurture local talent, attract more Bahamians to return home, and collaborate with other key players in this space to influence unimaginable change in our local and global landscape.

     To the management and staff of FTX: I strongly encourage you to continue to get to know the Bahamian people. Let your corporate presence here be meaningful.Immerse yourselves in the richness of our culture. Not only will you enjoy being a part of the fabric of Bahamian life, I daresay you will also develop expanded opportunities.

     My government will also do its part in upholding its commitment to consistently position The Bahamas as a compliant jurisdiction, with tremendous potential upside as a destination for investments.  In welcoming FTX, we embrace our responsibility to make The Bahamas a safe harbour for financial services, as we regulate and monitor digital assets that have far reaching potential to do good.

     As we work to rebuild and revitalize the Bahamian economy, our government is fully committed to facilitating the FinTech revolution as an essential part of our wider diversification efforts. With the introduction of digital assets legislation, widespread government digitalization efforts, the integration of the Sand Dollar as the world’s first Central Bank Digital Currency, and a number of other advances on the horizon, we are building the foundation for a booming digital economy. 

     We secured a mandate from the Bahamian people to implement change – big change. And we understand fully that we cannot get to where we need to be by doing business as usual.

     This is a time for big ideas and paradigm shifting initiatives.

     This also a time for decisive action and the skilful execution of national development plans.

     I fervently believe that our best days as a country are still ahead of us.

     The ingenuity of the Bahamian people, working in tandem with effective government policies and high-quality foreign direct investments such as FTX, will lead the way. 

     I wish you well in your endeavours.

     Thank you.