Thu | Jul 18, 2019

Montserrat to test Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollar with virtual currency partner

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Smoke covers a portion of Montserrat in this 2013 file photo. The tiny island is piloting a ditigal currency in partnership with Bitt.

Premier Donaldson Romeo of Montserrat has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Barbados-based digital currency exchange to create a digital payments system.

According to an announcement posted on Facebook, the agreement with Bitt is initially for three years and provides a framework for the exchange to collaborate with the government, private sector, commercial banks, and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, the ECCB.

They will work towards developing a pilot programme, which includes a feasibility study, to test the viability and functionality of the so-called Digital Eastern Caribbean Dollar, or DXCD, in Montserrat.

"The decision to move closer to a cashless society is in keeping with our overall development strategy, and also that of the ECCB," said Romeo, who is also the finance minister of Montserrat.

"The use of cash, as we all know, has risks and costs associated with it. It costs money to print money, and saving in cash 'under the mattress' and walking around with cash can be risky. The need for cash or for everyday transactions like purchases, or sending money locally to your loved ones, would be eliminated, as you would be able to use Bitt's mMoney mobile wallet for free peer-to-peer transfers of money using your smartphone, tablet or computer," he said.

Once implemented, the digital payments system will include a number of free services, according to the announcement. Users of Bitt's mMoney mobile wallet, which would be free for download, would be able to remit funds in Montserrat and within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, or ECCU, as well as make payments for goods and services for free.

Consumers would be able to add funds to their mMoney wallet at any digital wallet merchant for free, and make local payments for free.

"Bitt congratulates the Government of Montserrat on this progressive move, and is honoured to assist the island in meeting its objective of boosting financial inclusion, while reducing reliance on cash, as together we build resilience and sustainable socio-economic progress," said Rawdon Adams, CEO of Bitt.

- CMC