Ghana to Prioritize Blockchain Projects in New Regulatory Sandbox

The central bank of Ghana has launched a fintech regulatory and innovation live testing pilot that will give preference to projects using blockchain technology.

According to a press statement published by the bank on Thursday, the sandbox will cover a broad spectrum of innovations in the financial services sector, targeting women and improving financial inclusion in the country. The bank is on the lookout for remittance products, crowdfunding products and services, e-KYC (electronic know your customer) platforms and new merchant payment solutions for small to medium-sized businesses. 

“The sandbox will be available to banks, specialized deposit-taking institutions and payment service providers including dedicated electronic money issuers as well as unregulated entities and persons that have innovations that meet the sandbox requirements,” the statement said. 

The statement also said the Bank of Ghana wants to use this project “to reaffirm its commitment to addressing the financial inclusion needs of the unbanked and underserved persons and businesses.”

A Bank of Ghana representative told CoinDesk the institution will publish detailed requirements for prospective applicants soon, and that successful applicants will have 90 days to pilot their projects. 

“The sandbox will admit innovations that have not been covered by all the existing statutes with regards to regulation of the payment ecosystem in Ghana. Entities with such innovations can put in an application to the Bank of Ghana for evaluation and consideration,” the representative said in an email to CoinDesk. 

The sandbox launched in collaboration with fintech company EMTECH, which will be providing the underlying technology for Bank of Ghana to run the regulatory and innovation sandbox, according to Carmelle Cadet, the firm’s founder and chief executive officer.

In December EMTECH launched a compliance platform in partnership with Microsoft that enables central banks to tackle compliance issues or safely test their central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). 

In 2019, Ernest Addison, the governor of the Bank of Ghana, said the country is undergoing rapid digitization and announced Ghana could issue a CBDC in the near future. The bank has yet to announce a CBDC pilot.