Eastern Caribbean Central Bank to pilot blockchain tech with Bitt
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and a Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt, are planning to conduct a fintech pilot using blockchain technologies in the ECCB eight member countries.
These are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Last month, Bitt has got the official seal of approval to create a digital payments ecosystem for Montserrat. It has also recently received a $3 million investment from one of its major shareholders.
The ECCB and Bitt have now signed a memorandum of understanding, and the pilot is expected to begin later this year.
The ECCB and Bitt will develop, deploy and test technology for data management, compliance and transaction monitoring for know your customer (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT).
“This is intended to improve the risk profile of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and mitigate against the trend of de-risking by the region’s correspondent banking partners,” Bitt says.
“The pilot will also focus on developing a secure, resilient digital payment and settlement platform with embedded regional and global compliance; and the issuance of a digital Eastern Caribbean currency which will operate alongside physical currency.”
According to the governor of the ECCB, Timothy N. J. Antoine, the project is part of the strategic four-year plan. “The aim of the pilot is to ascertain the suitability of blockchain technology to help boost economic growth and competitiveness in the region consistent with the ECCB’s monetary and financial stability objectives,” he explains.
The central bank has “a responsibility to encourage and support innovation”, he adds, and “blockchain technology merits our attention and consideration at this time”.