A Caribbean financial technology partnership has been given global recognition. In March 2021, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) launched the world’s first retail central bank digital currency (CBDC) within a currency union. DCash, as the CBDC is known, was developed and deployed in collaboration with Bitt, a global fintech company based in Barbados.
Both the ECCB and Bitt were recognised on 16 June 2021, in Central Banking’s fourth annual FinTech RegTech Global Awards. The awards highlight official institutions’ success in innovation, payments and digital currency, data management, cyber resilience and more. Awardees were cited for data management and analytics, anti-money laundering tech, regulatory compliance support, digital currency and cyber security. A virtual ceremony was held to mark the launch.
ECCB won the award for CBDC initiative. ECCB Governor Timothy N.J. Antoine said:
“Here at the ECCB, we truly believe that the payment system is a public good and should be for all, except illicit actors. Financial inclusion and empowerment is at the heart of our innovation – DCash. On behalf of the management and staff at the ECCB, and the governments and people of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, I wish to thank Central Banking for this most prestigious award. At this time, this award will encourage and energise us as we press forward on our transformation agenda, which is to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.”
Rachael King, Chair of the Central Banking Awards Committee and Associate Editor of Central Banking, said:
“Launching a CBDC during a pandemic is no mean feat. Following years of careful planning, the central bank was able to successful launch DCash in half of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, and has plans to roll out to the remaining countries later this year. The central bank has developed a robust governance framework, and has made sure financial institutions have the correct anti-money laundering [AML] and know-your-customer protocols in place. I look forward to seeing how the central bank’s platform continues to evolve when the core banking system and wallet systems are combined at a later date.”
For its work on the DCash pilot, Bitt was awarded as the 2021 Central Bank Digital Currency Partner. Chief Executive Officer, Brain Popelka, proudly commented:
“It’s immensely gratifying to be recognised by the thought-leaders of your industry, especially when it’s for your work in charting a new course. The pandemic was certainly a challenging time, but we’re proud that our team was able to persevere and launch the world’s first CBDC in a currency union.”
Drawing on 30 years of independent and informed reporting, analysis and comment, the Central Banking FinTech & RegTech Global Awards were judged by an independent panel comprised of industry experts: former senior central bankers, technology consultants and innovators in the sector. Central Banking is the industry’s leading information resource.