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Kanoo calms fears of detractors who say totally digital festival is a bad idea

Kanoo Pays, the official digital wallet company of the upcoming International Culture, Wine and Food Festival (ICWFF), is ensuring that all recognized digital wallet companies will be able to be used at the festival, as ICWFF pilots a cashless event that will trade in only the central bank digital currency (CBDC) the Sand Dollar, one of Kanoo’s founders Nicholas Rees told Guardian Business yesterday.

Just as ICWFF announced that the event would be cashless and use digital means of payments from an app on your phone, detractors of the idea took to social media to express their apprehension, with some contending the idea will not work at all.

Some of those who commented under this paper’s story on social media last week, complained that it was unfair that only one wallet company would be used.

But Rees explained that all wallet companies that accept and use Sand Dollars will be accepted at the festival.

He added that there will also be solutions for those people who do not want to use the wallet apps, or those who forget their phones at home.

“No app, no problem. Kanoo is going to be fully inclusive. The event is fully inclusive,” said Rees.

“You can come there with… any approved Sand Dollar wallet. You could come with a Kanoo wallet or you could come with no wallet or no phone.

“You come there with no phone, you get a band, you go to the same (bank) booth, you give them your cash or you swipe your card and your Sand Dollars are loaded onto your band and you’ll be able to go with your band and transact.”

The band Rees speaks of uses similar near field communication (NFC) technology as the debit cards that allow you to tap to purchase.

He said the festival, which takes place on October 22 and 23 at the grounds of the Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation at Collins House, will be an opportunity to educate Bahamians on the use of digital wallets and the Sand Dollar.

“There will be opportunities to engage, ask questions, touch, feel and explore,” said Rees.

“It’s all about trialability and meeting people where they are, and being fully interoperable and catering to all.” 

Another of Kanoo’s founders, Kimani Braithwaite, said it was important for them that users are able to track their spending in real time and for them to be able to track the spending of their kids or dependents in real time, as they peruse the booths of the festival.

Braithwaite said parents will be able to digitally top up their children’s bands and track their spending, to ensure they are not visiting booths they are not supposed to.

“Parents don’t want to be chasing behind them with their mobile wallet to scan and pay for everything that the children want to take advantage of, whether it’s the haunted house or to buy a snow cone,” said Braithwaite.

“So, we will have the ability to link that particular band to a mobile wallet.”

One of the top features of the new digital system is there will be no more lines to purchase Bank of The Bahamas festival dollars.

And if patrons have Sand Dollars left in their wallets to spend, they can spend them outside of the festival, unlike unused festival dollars.

Rees said while all wallets will be accepted, Kanoo will have added incentives for their wallet’s users.

Some social media users were concerned about the amount of bandwidth that will be used, with thousands of people on their phones in once central spot.

Braithwaite said Cable Bahamas will have beefed up hotspots around the site, so that there is no cannibalization of data at the festival.

Rees added that with Aliv as a Kanoo partner, the use of the Kanoo digital wallet does not count toward data use on a user’s mobile plan.