Bitt + ECCB
In 2019, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt Inc., signed a contract to conduct a blockchain-issued central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
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During this pilot, the ECCB will mint a digital version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar (DXCD) as legal tender. To participate in the pilot, register with a financial institution, or an approved service provider. Download the DXCD mobile wallet application (free from mobile app stores) to manage funds, make purchases, and pay your bills. You can acquire DXCD by cashing in physical notes and coins, or converting funds from your bank account. Through implementation of the pilot, the ECCB hopes to increase opportunities for financial growth, competitiveness, and resilience for citizens of the ECCU. The DXCD pilot will address the following recurring issues:
Relatively high costs of current payment methods and banking services within the ECCU
Inadequacy of banking services in addressing the needs of various customers
Inefficient methods of settling cheque transactions, which slow the pace of commerce
DXCD users will enjoy the following benefits:
Pay or transfer money, without fees, in real time
Simple steps and easy-to-use interfaces
No bank account is required
Send money instantly to family, friends, and businesses within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU)
Secure and safe platform to facilitate your DXCD storage and transactions
No minimum spending amount (as in the case of card payment products)
No minimum balance required to maintain your DXCD account
Personal digital financial reports, provide real-time access to transaction records
Privacy and confidentiality of all your transaction information
Project Timeline - 2020
This timeline shows the different phases of the project, according to their scheduled calendar quarters:
For over a year, Bitt's team of developers has been building the ECCB-commissioned software that will mint and issue DXCD. This customised software will create and manage the DXCD payments platform for commercial banks, credit unions, businesses, and individuals within the ECCU.
Upon completion of training pilot, Bitt will equip participants (the ECCB, financial institutions, and merchants) with the tools and materials (documents, FAQ’s, and videos) to carry out the following:
Successfully train others within their institution
Perform ‘self-help’ with DXCD applications
Support their customers during pilot operations
In mid-March 2020, Bitt and the ECCB conducted preliminary testing of the DXCD applications with select stakeholder groups in St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada. This marked a major milestone accomplishment as the ECCB prepares for its scheduled June 2020 launch. Stakeholders tested early versions of DXCD applications, performed person-to-person transactions, and tested DXCD payments with merchants. Bitt will use this live testing phase for feedback, from actual software users, toward refinements ahead of launch.
The Bitt team will conduct extensive training with the ECCB, financial institutions, and merchants. Training will be tailored to the skill level, needs, and expectations of each department within each institution. Training will be conducted in classroom style presentations, using a ‘Train the Trainer’ method. This training method will ensure that participants learn and simultaneously learn how to train others.
The purpose of acceptance testing is to evaluate the DXCD system’s compliance with prospective business requirements, and assess whether it is acceptable for delivery. This is formal testing of user needs, requirements, and business processes. This testing will determine if the DXCD system satisfies the acceptance criteria and will enable the users, customers, and other authorised entities to determine if to accept the existing DXCD system.
We will conduct an assessment of the DXCD’s overall security posture, including cybersecurity. This security audit will verify that the current DXCD security strategy is adequate, and will uncover any vulnerabilities introduced by this new technology and its related processes.
Readiness assessments will identify potential challenges, new procedures, structures, and processes within a currency organisational context. This is an analysis of an organisation’s ability to transform processes, or change, to accommodate DXCD. Considerations are assessed in three key business areas: technical, commercial, and operations.
Communication will provide potential DXCD users with information about the technology, the application and its benefits, and how to get started.
In Q3, the ECCB ascribed the name ‘DCash’ to the pilot, and the associated app. The name ‘DCash’, literally meaning 'digital cash', was developed to resonate with consumers within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
Customers can sign up for DXCD applications in preparation for the launch of the pilot.
Bitt and the ECCB will maintain continuous assessment of the performance of the DXCD pilot via routine collection of information, and the appraisal of data and information that inform strategic decisions.
DXCD is considered legal tender under currently enacted legislation. However, cash will not be eliminated, and merchants will continue to accept it as a form of payment. The ECCB guarantees all funds on the DXCD network against losses due to infrastructure failure for the duration of the pilot test.