Medici Ventures, a blockchain accelerator and subsidiary of Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTK) announced on Wednesday its portfolio company Bitt is using blockchain technology to conduct a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s (ECCU) member countries.
Founded in 2013, Bitt’s mission is to create payments systems for citizens, merchants, banking institutions and central banks that promote social inclusion, financial empowerment and economic growth for this and future generations. The company reported that it offers alternatives to high consumer and merchant transaction fees, but is also working towards providing solutions to the high cost of doing business created by regionally fragmented currencies, the restrictive barriers to e-commerce, the lengthy transaction times and the lack of global financial access faced in the region.
Medici Ventures reported that the ECCB and Bitt have partnered to pilot an ECCB securely minted and issued digital version of the Eastern Caribbean dollar distributed and utilized by financial institutions throughout the ECCU. The accelerator noted that digital EC dollars facilitate peer-to-peer transactions between merchants and consumers using smartphone applications, improving avenues for doing business in the Caribbean. Dr. Patrick M. Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, stated:
“We have found working with our forty Caribbean colleagues to be immensely rewarding and are delighted that the product of this collaboration is going to be implemented now among the island nations of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the third largest monetary union in the world, under the authority and supervision of the ECCB’s farsighted governor, Timothy Antoine. Some of the islands in question have recently been devastated by significant extreme weather events; I look forward to our technology playing a role in accelerating the recovery of these nations.”
Byrne then added:
“Bitt’s integration with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is another step toward advancing blockchain technology in a meaningful way,” said Jonathan Johnson, president of Medici Ventures. “Bitt is significantly improving the payments space by utilizing blockchain technology to provide banking options to countries with large portions of their populations unbanked.”