The St. Kitts-based Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Wednesday announced it had signed a contract with the Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt Inc. (Bitt) to conduct a blockchain-issued Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
It said that the agreement was signed late last month and that the pilot project is the first of its kind and will involve a securely minted and issued digital version of the EC dollar (DXCD).
'The digital EC dollar will be distributed and used by Licensed Financial Institutions and Non-Bank Financial Institutions in the ECCU. The DXCD will be used for financial transactions between consumers and merchants, including peer-to-peer transactions, all using smart devices,' the bank said in the statement.
It said, as an example, an individual in St Kitts and Nevis will be able to send DXCD securely from his/her smartphone to a friend in Grenada in seconds - and at no cost to either party.
'This is not an academic exercise. Not only will the digital EC Dollar be the world's first digital legal tender currency to be issued by a central bank on blockchain but this pilot is also a live CBDC deployment with a view to an eventual phased public rollout,' said ECCB Governor, Timothy N. J. Antoine.
'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...