According to recently published reports, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is all set to conduct a pilot for a blockchain-based central bank digital currency (CBDC), as a preparatory move for its full rollout as a legal tender, possibly by 2020. As a part of this initiative the ECCB, just a few days ago last month inked a deal with Barbados-based fintech firm Bitt in order to assist the launch of the pilot. Other technical support is coming from Pinaka Consulting. This CBDC pilot will have a “securely minted and issued” digital version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD). According to an announcement from Bitt, this digital asset will be distributed for use by financial institutions across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
The stablecoin, DXCD, is meant for use in financial transactions between consumers and merchants and peer-to-peer transactions such as sending money to friends or family within the ECCU. Funds will be able to be sent using devices such as smartphones.
The governor of the ECCB, Timothy N. J. Antoine, emphasized on the fact that the pilot is not an “academic exercise” and said, that the pilot was a part of ECCB’s strategic plan for 2017-2021, which was aimed to reduce the use of cash in the union by 50 per cent, as well as make the financial sector more stable and boost development of ECCU member countries. He said,
“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… It would be a game-changer for the way we do business.”
The pilot is supposed to be launch this month, and after roughly 12 months of development and testing, will be followed by rollout and implementation in pilot countries for about six months. The ECCB will also be launching educational initiatives to raise public engagement with DXCD across the union. Bitt CEO Rawdon Adams said that the project wanted to “enhance economic growth and the quality of life of ordinary people.”