Thursday 15th March, 2018 –The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Barbados-based fintech company, Bitt Inc. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this week to conduct a FinTech pilot on blockchain technology in the ECCB member countries.
During the pilot, the ECCB says it will work closely with Bitt Inc. to develop, deploy and test technology which focuses on data management, compliance and transaction monitoring system for Know Your Customer, Anti-Money Laundering, and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (KYC/AML/CFT). This will help to improve the risk profile of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and mitigate against the trend of de-risking by the region’s correspondent banking partners. The pilot will also focus on developing a secure, resilient digital payment and settlement platform with embedded regional and global compliance; and the issuance of a digital EC currency which will operate alongside physical EC currency.
Governor of the ECCB, Timothy N. J. Antoine says, “This fintech pilot is part of the Bank’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021. The aim of the pilot is to ascertain the suitability of blockchain technology to help boost economic growth and competitiveness in the region consistent with the ECCB’s monetary and financial stability objectives. Furthermore, as the ECCB promotes the safety and soundness of the financial system in the ECCU, it also has a responsibility to encourage and support innovation consistent with the Bank’s mandate to facilitate the balanced growth and development of member countries. To that end, blockchain technology merits our attention and consideration at this time”.
The MOU between the ECCB and Bitt Inc, which was signed on 9 March, is the culmination of a workshop held over the period 7 – 9 March and involved teams from the ECCB and Bitt Inc. As part of the workshop, commercial banks in the ECCU were invited to a special session on the pilot. The feedback from the banks was the first in a series of steps to define the functional and non-functional requirements for the pilot project.
The pilot is due to commence later this year and will be conducted under the supervision of the ECCB, and in controlled environments.