The government of Montserrat has teamed with Barbados-based cryptocurrency firm Bitt to create a digital payments ecosystem in the Caribbean island.
Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory. It is part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles, in the former British West Indies. Montserrat measures approximately 16 kilometers in length and 11 kilometers in width, with approximately 40 kilometers of coastline. It is nicknamed “The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants.
Founded in 2013, Bitt is a financial technology company that utilizes distributed ledger technology (DLT) to offer digital payment products and services, including digital asset issuance software. It provides a way to trade legal tender for digital assets and vice versa, as well as to trade one type of digital asset for another type of digital asset. The company also offers a mobile wallet that empowers users to send and receive money globally from their mobile devices or PCs; and send payments for goods or services locally over the Internet or directly to friends and family.
Under the agreement, Bitt will work with the government of Montserrat and other domestic stakeholders, such as the private sector, commercial banks, and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), to create a digital payments ecosystem in island. Bitt will collaborate with the government to develop a pilot program, which includes a feasibility study designed to test the viability and functionality of Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollars (DXCD) in the financial ecosystem of island.
The feasibility study will also facilitate proof of concept experimentation and will use a phased approach within controlled environments to deploy, test and assess the effectiveness of suggested implementations.
Montserrat Premier Donaldson Romeo said that “the people of Montserrat will benefit from increased financial inclusion, and a significant reduction in their need for cash to make payments for goods and services, or as a means of saving. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer, will now be able to conduct these domestic transactions securely, efficiently, digitally.”
“The use of cash, as we all know, has risks and costs associated with it,” Romeo said. “It costs money to print money, and saving in cash “under the mattress” and walking around with cash can be risky.”
“Bitt congratulates the government of Montserrat on this progressive move,” said Rawdon Adams, CEO of Bitt. “We’re honored to assist the island in meeting its objective of boosting financial inclusion, while reducing reliance on cash, as together we build resilience and sustainable socio-economic progress.”
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