The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Barbados-based Fintech company, Bitt Inc have signed a contract to conduct a blockchain-issued Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
The watershed contract was signed on February 21 at the ECCB’s headquarters in Basseterre.
The ECCB CBDC pilot is the first of its kind and will involve a securely minted and issued digital version of the EC dollar.
The Digital EC dollar will be distributed and used by licensed financial institutions and non-bank financial institutions in the ECCU.
It will be used for financial transactions between consumers and merchants, including peer-to-peer transactions, all using smart devices.
Governor of the ECCB, Timothy N. J. Antoine, said the pilot is part of the ECCB’s strategic plan 2017-2021 which aims to help reduce cash usage within the ECCU by 50 per cent, promote greater financial sector stability, and expedite the growth and development of member countries.
The ECCB is now poised to embark on the digital EC dollar pilot from March 2019. The pilot will be executed in two phases: development and testing, for about twelve months, followed by rollout and implementation in pilot countries for about six months.