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March 15, 2018

ECCB teams up with fintech firm Bitt to pilot blockchain technology

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Barbados-based Bitt to organise a fintech pilot using blockchain technologies in its eight member nations.

Under the MoU, both organisations will carry out a pilot on blockchain technology in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

During the test phase, the ECCB will work with Bitt to develop, deploy and examine technology for data management, compliance and transaction monitoring for know your customer (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT).

The pilot programme aims to enhance the risk profile of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

It will also aim to mitigate the trend of de-risking by the region’s correspondent banking partners, ECCB said.

Additionally, the pilot will concentrate on developing a secure, resilient digital payment and settlement platform equipped with regional and global compliance; and the issuance of a digital EC currency which will operate together with physical currency.

ECCB Governor Timothy N. J. Antoine said: “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 is the result of a three-day workshop in which teams from the ECCB and Bitt participated.

The pilot is slated to start later this year and will be carried out under the supervision of the ECCB in controlled environments.

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